Mumbai FC deny EB three points with late equaliser
Kolkata: East Bengal`s renewed I-League title hopes suffered a setback after they dropped two points at home ground with a 2-2 draw against Mumbai FC who scored a late equaliser through Ashutosh Mehta here on Friday.
Trailing by Yusif Yakubu`s spectacular 61st minute goal, East Bengal made a swift comeback when super sub Ryuji Sueoka fired in two goals in three minutes.
But Armando Colaco`s side could not hold on to the lead as some sloppy defence saw the Mumbai side restore parity with a solo effort from Mehta in the 87th minute.
East Bengal now have 28 points from 18 matches, nine behind leaders Bengaluru FC who have played two more matches. This was Mumbai FC`s seventh draw in last eight matches and 12th in the season as they remained in the relegation zone with 21 from 20 matches to be 11th in the 13-team table.
Coming on the back of their win against Rangdajied United FC, the home outfit started with a positive intent and looked to have more possession but the Mumbai outfit gradually found their feet.
Edeh Chidi wasted an opportunity in the 10th minute, while Mumbai FC too wasted opportunities when Shehnaj Singh hit the side net in the first-half.
The hosts had a narrow escape when Alfred Jaryan`s shot sailed over the bar before another unlucky second-half strike when he missed an open target, hitting straight to goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal.
Mumbai FC soon ended their sequence of mishits with a Yakubu blinder when the Ghanaian forward fired in a long ranger beyond Mondal`s reach. Pressed in place of Reisangmi Vashum in the 50th minute, Sueoka unleashed a powerful back volley from inside the box in the 66th minute, and the Japanese gave the lead from a low square pass to inject life into the East Bengal camp.
Just as it looked that the hosts would hold on for a win, an individual piece of brilliance from medio Ashutosh coupled with some shoddy defense by the home side helped Mumbai FC level in the 87th minute.
Going on a solo down the left flank, the well-built youngster made his way past a few East Bengal defenders before cutting into the box and firing an unstoppable shot to set up a grand stand finish.