I-League: Mohun Bagan rally to hold Gokulam Kerala to 2-2 draw
Kolkata, Jan 30: Mohun Bagan rallied from a goal down to hold Gokulam Kerala FC 2-2 in an I-League encounter at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Wednesday.
Virtually out of title contention after losing to arch-rivals East Bengal, the green and maroons took the lead through Shilton D’Silva (18th minute) only to hand over the advantage three minutes later when Lalchhawnkima (21st) put the ball in his own net.
Marcus Joseph (24th) gave the relegation-threatened visitors the lead soon after as Gokulam led 2-1 at the break.
At the hour mark, Dipanda Dicka (60th) equalised to avoid an upset.
The result meant both teams did not make any movement in the points table with Mohun Bagan staying in sixth spot (14 points from 15 matches) while Gokulam remained on ninth (12 points from 14 matches).
Mohun Bagan coach Khalid Jamil made three changes to the side that went down against East Bengal. Arijit Bagui, Azharuddin Mallick and Shilton got the nod ahead of Abhishek Ambekar, Pintu Mahata and Darren Caldeira respectively.
The visiting coach Gift Raikhan made four changes to the starting XI that earned a point against Minerva Punjab in their last match. New recruit Fabien Vorbe got a start along with Mohamed Irshad, Bijesh Balan and Suhair VP.
Gokulam could have gone ahead in the very first minute when Joseph fired a shot from a distance and Shilton Paul, who was caught off his line, stumbled while tracking back.
Mohun Bagan looked lacklustre in the opening exchanges and only took the lead in the 18th minute when Sony Norde swung in a curling cross from a corner for Shilton to nod home.
In no time, Lalchhawnkima’s misplaced clearance of a Bijesh Balan cross nestled at the back of the net as Gokulam were gifted the leveller.
Three minutes later, Joseph fired his team into the lead after he latched on to a pass from Suhair VP and lobbed over Paul to score his third goal in as many matches.
Dicka could have got Mohun Bagan back in the game but his header, minutes before halftime, missed the target by a whisker.
After halftime, Mohun Bagan toiled hard to finally find the second goal when Dicka found the net after he got his head to a lobbed ball by Kisekka from the edge of the box.
In the final minutes of the game, Jamil introduced Mehtab Hossain to add some steel in the midfield but their lack of cutting edge in the attacking third did not help in their search for the winner.
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