Mohun Bagan Super Giant scripted a second-half fightback to hold Odisha FC 2-2 in an ISL-X match at the Salt Lake Stadium on a rainy Wednesday evening.
Trailing by two goals at half-time — Ahmed Jahouh scored a brace for the visitors — Bagan rode Armando Sadiku’s double (58th and 90+4) to keep their unbeaten run intact in the ongoing league.
Sadiku’s lack of form has been a topic of discussion among Bagan fans, but the brace on Wednesday will do his confidence a world of good.
The way the ecstatic Albanian forward flung his shirt and slid on the turf and his teammates rushed towards him after the equaliser showed how much it meant to him and the squad.
His first goal was also opportunistic and came out of the blue when the 32-year-old flicked home a Kiyan Nassiri centre from the right.
The match had assumed importance since the two rivals were facing off within nine days. On November 27 at the same venue, Odisha FC had ensured that Bagan were ousted from the AFC Cup group stage, trouncing the hosts 5-2.
On Wednesday, they looked well on course for another memorable victory till Sadiku prodded it home past an onrushing Amrinder Singh. Minutes before that, Bagan keeper Vishal Kaith kept his team in the match when he effected a double save.
Kaith denied Princeton Rebello, who had only the goalkeeper to beat, but the danger was not averted as Rebello got back the ball and played it to Pranjal Bhunij. Kaith this time got a hand to the shot and it came off the post.
Bagan’s valiant show came at a price though. They lost three players to injuries. Sahal Abdul Samad, Anirudh Thapa and Glan Martins had to be substituted.
As luck would have it, Bagan suffered a setback even before kick-off when Hugo Boumous had to be pulled out after suffering an injury during warm-up. Jason Cummings came in place of him.
There was drama after the match when Juan Ferrando and former Bagan player Roy Krishna had a run-in
Referee Crystal John flashed the red card to the Bagan coach and also Brazilian striker Diego Mauricio of Odisha FC.