Margao:Vasco fought back in the second half to hold former champions East Bengal to a 1-1 draw in the OIL PSU seventh National Football League (NFL) match at the Nehru Stadium Thursday.
After local boy Alvito DíCunha had given East Bengal the lead in the 33rd minute, Vasco fought back in the second session to restore parity through Brazilian Marcus Pereira, who capped a return pass from substitute Santa Singh to beat íkeeper Sandip Nandy to his left.
It was the second draw for East Bengal, but they still retain their position at the top with 17 points from seven games. Vasco have 12 from as many matches to remain third behind Dempo (13).
Both teams started on an attacking note with the Calcutta outfit having the edge in the middle-third. After missing three scoring chances in the first half-an-hour, they took the lead.
The goal was a culmination of a brilliant move between Alvito and Mike Okoro. Alvito, who was earlier thwarted by keeper Ramos, made no mistake to slot the ball past the onrushing keeper into the empty net.
Vasco also had their share of exchanges. Marcus, who was marked tightly by the rival defence, had a chance in the first half but his shot missed narrowly.
After the equaliser, both teams went into all-out attack. Vasco had the best chance in the dying minutes but Nitin Pradhan failed to direct his header on target off a cross from Santa Singh.
Referee J. Ravishankar of Delhi showed yellow cards to Vascoís Selwyn Fernandes and East Bengalís Douglas de Silva.
Salgaocar thrash IB
In another NFL match at Chennai, Dudu Omagbemi scored a hattrick as Salgaocar, Goa, drubbed local outfit Indian Bank 4-2 in their crucial sixth round match.
Dharamjit Singh gave Salgaocar the lead in the third minute, while Nigerian Dudu found the target in the 20th, 25th and 84th minutes respectively. Pasha (12th) and Imran Mohamed (90th) scored for the losers.
Salgaocar were off to a flying start, capitalising on two costly errors by bank custodian Felix Edward. They never looked back from then on despite the hosts scoring once in each half.
Edward was replaced by Sebastian Netto soon after the Goans scored their third goal.
The win left Salgaocar on 10 points from seven games while Indian Bank remain on seven. Though Salgaocar went into the match without their key players Sunday Seah and Covan Lawrence, the two goals helped them dominate the match and outplay a demoralised bankmen.
Trailing 1-3, Indian Bank opened up putting pressure on Salgaocar goal, but Syed Sabir Pasha missed two good chances. Key striker Kasun Nadika Jayasuriya was also off-colour. (PTI)