A Baichung Bhutia strike could not get East Bengal all three points as their keenly-contested ONGC Cup National Football League match against Salgaocar Sports Club, Goa, ended in a 1-1 draw in Kolkata on Sunday.
The Baichung magic, that won East Bengal their lung opener against Mohammedan Sporting, sparkled again to give the hosts a 33rd minute lead, but Salgaocar's creative Brazilian medio Fabio Passos drew level in the 59th minute to dampen the spirits of the home crowd at the flood-lit Salt Lake stadium.
Starting off the blocks with a razor-sharp left-footer from Alvito D'Cunha kissing the post, East Bengal went ahead through a solo effort by the Sikkimese sniper.
Baichung, looking a lot fitter and faster since the SAFF Cup, got a loose ball from medio Jayanta Sen in his own half and raced down the middle before unleashing a powerpacked 20-yard left-footer from a narrow angle between goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee and the post.
But the visitors refused to succumb and sustained their goalbound efforts that paid dividends after the break when Fabio's brilliant header off a right-wing cross from substitute Samsung Singh beat the rival defence hands down.
Both sides now have three points from two outings following victories in their opening matches.