Jamshedpur: The 34th Federation Cup football began here with an upset of sort as the I-league champions Dempo SC was held 1-1 by the AIFF development side Pailan Arrows, Kolkata.
In the other Group A match of the day, Shillong Lajong defeated Mumbai FC 2-1 in a keenly contested tie.
Pailan Arrows could have won the match had the young side had some experience. However, the slippery ground condition caused by Tuesday`s downpour prevented both sides from playing their natural game at JRD Tata Sports Complex.
After a barren first half, Pailan Arrows` forward Holicharan Narzary put his team into the lead in the 52nd minute after dribbling two defenders of the rival team.
Dempo, however, equalised eight minute later as mid-fielder Clifford Miranda headed home.
Expressing satisfaction with the performance of his young side, Pailan coach Arthur Papas said in holding the strong Goan team, the boys have exhibited an impressive show.
Stating that the ground condition was not suitable for good football, Dempo coach Armando Colaco said now the team have to win the next two matches.
In the other match played at Keenan Stadium, Shillong Lajong FC surged ahead in the 43rd minute after Liberian-born USA-based John D Menyongar, who was the captain of Liberia in the World Cup qualifier, converted a penalty awarded following a handball by the Mumbai FC player in the penalty box.
Lajong`s joy was, however, shortlived as Mumbai FC`s Nigerian recruit Ndobuisi Opara equalised after receiving a cross from the right flank in the injury time before the lemon-break.
Later on the 82nd minute, it was the turn of Lajong`s Nigerian striker Friday Gbeneme to score the winner after tearing apart the rival defence line.
It is not pleasant at all that I had to approach the court but there was no option left for me. I am glad that I have been proved right and it has lifted my morale ahead for the Asian Games.
Manoj Kumar, Indian boxer