| Junior strikes again
Chennai: Fancied East Bengal could not cling on to a lead and were held 1-1 by lowly Indian Bank in a National Football League match here on Monday.
East Bengal went into the lead in the 22nd minute through a penalty conversion by Cristiano Junior while Kamaldeen Fuard’s brilliant strike neutralised the lead.
East Bengal have taken their tally to 15 points, while Indian Bank stay at the bottom with two. The bankmen, who had lost seven matches and drawn one prior to this, played superbly against the red-and-gold brigade, hamstrung by the absence of Bhaichung Bhutia and Debjit Ghosh.
East Bengal went all out in the last five minutes but to no avail. In the dying moments, East Bengal lost the services of captain Deepak Mondal, who was given marching orders following a second booking. In fact, with substitute Dipankar Roy injured, the Calcutta side had to play with nine men for the last three minutes.
East Bengal scored against the run of play when Junior was brought down inside the box by Rakesh Kumar Pandey and the Brazilian made no mistake from the spot.
Three minutes later, Fuard equalised when his 40-yard right-footer found the back of the net grazing the head of defender Mahesh Gawli.
Mahindra United crushed Vasco Sports Club, Goa 3-0 in another match at the Cooperage in Mumbai. The hosts outplayed their rivals in every department of the game and managed to win handsomely despite going on the defensive in the second half.
After Vasco conceded an own goal, S. Venkatesh and Abhishek Yadav rounded off the tally. With this win, Mahindra have 16 points while Vasco stay on nine.
Mahindra went into the lead in the 14th minute when Jules Alberto S. Venkatesh made in-roads into the Vasco territory and a panicked defender Vinu Jose put the ball into his own net.
In the 17th minute, Venkatesh increased the lead when he booted home Alberto’s header on the second attempt. Two minutes into the injury time, substitute Yadav, who came in place of striker Steven Dias in the 86th minute, scored off a Venkatesh pass to make it 3-0.