East Bengal draw 1-1 with Prayag
Kolkata: East Bengal`s poor run in the fifth edition of the I-League football tournament continued when they drew 1-1 against Prayag United SC in a round two fixture at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Saturday.
Prayag took the lead with a Yusif Yakubu strike in the 49th minute but East Bengal, somehow, managed to drove home the equaliser as late in the 85th minute of the match.
Last year`s runners-up, East Bengal struggled for ball possession with lack of creativity in the midfield while Prayag dominated the proceedings right from the start.
Prayag also impressed with some fine set piece movements in the midfield with Lalkamal Bhowmick and Denson Devadas combining well.
East Bengal, who lost to Churchill Brothers 0-1 in their I-League opener, missed their inspirational midfielder Mehtab Hussain as they failed to score, while Prayag dominated the proceedings in the first 45 minutes.
Prayag drew the first blood through Yakubu, who headed the ball into East Bengal net from a Lalkamal freekick four minutes after the change of ends.
Just when it looked East Bengal will slump to their second consecutive loss in the tournament, the Kolkata giants stepped up the momentum in the final 15 minutes and the move yielded in the equaliser.
Baljit Singh Sahni scored the equaliser for East Bengal five minutes from full time.
Scores tied at 1-1 and with five more minutes to go, East Bengal almost scored the all-important winner but fot Prayag custodian Abhijit Mondal, who came up with a brilliant save.
Mondal denied East Bengal`s Australian forward Tolgay Ozbey in the last minute to deny the red-and-gold brigade their first win in the tournament.
The draw, meant East Bengal have opened their account in the tournament with one point from two matches, while Prayag have two points from as many games.