| Okoro: 12th goal
Margao: Runaway leaders East Bengal surrendered a 2-0 lead to be held 2-2 by Dempo in a National Football League (NFL) match at the Nehru Stadium Sunday.
East Bengal, though under pressure in the initial stages, went ahead into the 20th minute. Mercurial striker Mike Okoro accepted a Subhas Chakraborty pass and dodging past defender Domnick Noronha, put it past keeper Abhijit Mondal. Okoro now heads the scorersí list with 12 strikes.
Two minutes hence, Douglas de Silva increased the lead nodding home an Alvito Dí Cunha flag-kick.
But a resilient Dempo outfit fought back with zeal. Their midfield worked like a well-oiled machine with Man-of-the-Match Jose Colaco, Lazarus, Ratan Singh, Mario Soares and Bijen Singh putting up a superb show. They played a perfect passing game and penetrated the rival defence a number of times.
Their efforts bore fruit in the 29th minute when Colaco volleyed home a measured cross from Sri Lankan medio Channa.
The goal acted as a tonic for the Goa side and they squared things up in the 38th minute via a Mario Soares strike off a goal-bound melee.
Dempo pressed for a winner in the second half, but keeper Sandip Nandy held them at bay.
With this draw, East Bengal continue to lead with 34 points from 14 matches, while Dempo have 22 from as many games.
A brace for Ashim
Tollygunge Agragami trounced ITI Sports Club 4-0 in another NFL match at Bangalore. Striker Ashim Biswas carried on his superb run scoring in the 35th and 86th minutes while Akeem Abolanle and Moses Ohira struck in the dying moments to add to ITI woes.
Dhanesh scored one for ITI in the 55th minute, but it was disallowed by referee Benjamin de Silva. With this victory, Tollygunge took their tally to 20 while ITI languish at four and are certain to be relegated.
Though the home team had the better of exchanges, poor finishing let them down.
Indian Bank beat HAL
In another match in Chennai, Indian Bank edged out HAL 2-1.
After a barren first half, the bankmen went into the lead in the 55th minute, Joseph finding the target. But the visitors were up to the task and drew parity a minute later. Sri Lankan recruit Jayasuriya clinched it for Indian Bank towards the end. (PTI)