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 March 13, 2002 | 1915 IST

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Mahindra, Salgaocar draw 1-1

Mumbai giants Mahindra United stayed in contention for honours after drawing 1-1 with Goa's Salgaocar Sports Club in a 16th round match in the Tata National Football League in Margao, Goa, on Wednesday.

Both the goals came in the first half.

Jules Alberto put Mahindra ahead in the 31st minute while Bolaji M Olibiye drew level for the Goa team two minutes from the breather.

The draw put Salgoacar on par with Kolkata's Mohan Bagan and Vasco Sports Club, with 28 points. However, Salgaocar have played 16 matches, while Bagan and Vasco have played 15.

Salgoacar could have won the match had they utilised the gilt-edged opportunities that came their way, especially after Mahindra were reduced to ten players. However, the goals continued to elude them.

Salgoacar came up with a good move in the first half when Alvito D'Cunha, from the right flank, crossed to a well-positioned Sunday Seah, but the latter failed to control the ball and wasted an easy chance.

Mahindra, who desperately needed a stay in contention for the title, played their hearts out and shot into the lead in the 31st minute when Jules Alberto scored from zero angle, off a well-measured pass from the right flank by Anthony Pereira.

But the lead was shortlived as Salgaocar rode back into the game and restored parity through Bolaji following a flag-kick by Alvito D'Cunha two minutes before the breather -- 1-1. Bolaji's power-packed right-footer found the net.

But for these three good moves, play was confined to midfield for a major part of the first half. After the change over, Mahindra were reduced to ten players, ten minutes after resumption, when their defender, Isa Musa Eroje, was shown the red card by referee M Suresh of Tamil Nadu for manhandling Salgoacar striker Seah.

Thereafter, Salgoacar stepped up the pace and also came near scoring on a couple of occasions but Mahindra goalkeeper Virendra Singh stood between them and a goal.

In the 20th minute of the second half, Seah's feeble shot, off a pass from Dennis Cabral, landed straight into the hands of the goalkeeper.

In the 35th minute too, Virendra Singh, diving to his right, smartly saved a full-blooded shot from substitute Bruno Coutinho.

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