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Jayanta saves day for Bagan

Mumbai: An injury time goal by substitute Jayanta Sen helped champions Mohun Bagan hold Mahindra United 1-1 in the seventh National Football League match at The Cooperage Tuesday. The hosts were given the lead by Odiaftey Lawson in the 27th minute.

With this draw, Mahindra have four points from four matches while Bagan have six.

The Mumbai team dominated proceedings right from the word go. In the fifth minute, mid-fielder Brazilian Petr Strnadel shot wide from close range. A couple of minutes later, winger Mongba Aby Samson failed to connect a R. P Singh cross following striker R.C. Prakash’s back pass.

Bagan’s first goal-bound move came in the 14th minute when striker Rennedy Singh’s attempt was well saved by Mahindra custodian Feroz Sheriff.

Four minutes later, Mahindra once again came close to scoring but Prakash’s solo attempt went over the cross-bar. Bagan immediately hit back but Bhaichung Bhutia’s volley was well saved by Sheriff.

Lawson put Mahindra ahead with an accurate header off a R.P. Singh flag-kick. Soon after Bagan’s Brazilian star Jose Barreto shot straight to Sheriff following a fine run down the right.

Five minutes hence, Sheriff again effected a fine save in a goal-mouth melee. But with just two minutes to go for half time, Mahindras should have gone 2-0 up but Samson’s lob hit the cross bar and came back into play.

After the interval, the home team was reduced to ten men with their defender Naushad Pari getting the second yellow card of the match for committing fouls on Bagan defenders Dulal Biswas and Isa Musa Eroje.

Being a man down, they were forced to fall back, with the visitors calling all the shots. In the 50th minute Bhaichung came close but his shot off a Barreto cross went over.

Barreto could have equalised a little later, had Feroz not came in the way. In the 76th minute Mahindra substitute Abhishek Yadav failed to seal the match missing a sitter off a James Singh pass.

Jayanta finally gave Bagan the equaliser when his feeble shot caught the rival ’keeper on the wrong foot and trickled into the goal. (PTI)

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