A ten-man Mohammedan Sporting withstood sustained pressure from Sporting Clube de Goa to salvage a 1-1 draw in an action-packed thriller in the ONGC Cup National Football League in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Mohammedan Sporting's Bijen Singh exploited a rival defensive error in the dying moments of the first half to cancel a lead given to the Goans by Edeh Chidi minutes earlier in the floodlit encounter at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Sporting Clube de Goa, who had the edge for most part of the match, went ahead in the 42nd minute when Chidi received a through from Rajesh Meetei, and played a short one-to-one with Dudu Omagbemi in the rival box, before covering the ball well from his marker. He finished off with an angular shot that went in to the right of the Mohammedan Sporting goalkeeper.
But within three minutes, the locals restored parity, with the fleet-footed Bijen following up a long ball to head home. Goan defender Philip Gomes was partly to be blamed for the goal as he showed lack of anticipation and failed to affect a clearance before Bijen could reach the ball.
Mohammedan Sporting, however, went into half-time on a sour note. The Kolkata team were reduced to ten men in the third minute of the injury time with Mir Farooq Hyder being given marching orders for kicking Bibiano Fernandes in the lower abdomen after the latter had won a tussle.
Sporting Clube were well served by their Nigerian forwards Chidi and Dudu, who posed a constant threat to the Sporting defence with their speed and skill. However, Mohammedan Sporting escaped the blushes, as their custodian Gopal Das put up an outstanding show to win the man-of-the-match award.