Bangalore: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited rallied from one-goal deficit to hold East Bengal 1-1 to end the Kolkata side`s I-league title hopes on Saturday.
Substitute Ravinder Singh gave East Bengal the lead in the 76th minute before HAL equalised through a spectacular goal from Xavier Vijay Kumar.
East Bengal needed a win big margin to stay in title contention and they could have gone up by two goals in the first three minutes of the game.
HAL keeper P Pramod averted Australian Tolgay Ozbey`s shot from a pass by Mehtab Hussain. A minute later, Pramod again saved Sushil Singh`s sleek header.
Playing on the newly laid artificial turf at Karnataka Football Association Stadium, the spectators witnessed a fast-paced match with attack coming from both the ends early in the match.
HAL defenders put up a brilliant performance and kept the dangerous looking Tolgay Ozbey and East Bengal forward line at bay.
After the lemon break, the home side came back strongly into the game with Xavier Vijay Kumar finding the equaliser.
A few shots from Xavier were saved by East Bengal custodian Sandip Nandy.
With too many miss passes, the Red and Gold brigade from Kolkata looked a tad jaded with their forwards kept falling on the off-side trap plenty of many occasions.