Dempo hold spirited Mohun Bagan`s challenge

Kolkata: Mohun Bagan squandered their lead in the last 13 minutes to settle for a 2-2 draw against leaders Dempo, something that shattered their I-League hopes after the 22nd round fixture at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Sunday.

In an action-packed first-half, Nigerian stalwart Odafa Okolie fired in two goals in seven minutes to take Mohun Bagan past Dempo who were leading with a Ranti Martins strike from a penalty in the 4th minute.

But in their must-win game, Mohun Bagan could not hold to their 2-1 lead as Koko Sakibu pulled one back for his team in the 77th minute to deny a fine win to the home giants.

Mohun Bagan would be ruing Odafa`s missed penalty chance in the 26th minute after he hit the upright, something that also denied him a hattrick.

The draw would help Mohun Bagan`s bitter-foes East Bengal in their title pursuit as the latter find themselves six points behind Dempo (47) with four more rounds left.

Dempo raced to a 1-0 lead when Mohun Bagan defender Syed Rahim Nabi handed the ball inside their box as Martins easily converted from the spot.

But Mohun Bagan did not give up and enjoyed the better ball possession to put pressure on an unimpressive Dempo defence.

Mohun Bagan`s first opportunity came in the 22nd minute when they were awarded a similar penalty after Jose Barreto`s shot was handed by a Dempo defender inside their box.