Dempo stay at top, share point with EB
Goa giants Dempo Sports Club found the equaliser in the 83rd minute to hold a dominant Kingfisher East Bengal 1-1 in a fourth round match of I-League at Yuba Bharati Kriragan here today.
East Bengal paid the price for missing easy chances after gaining an early lead as Dempo replied late to snatch a point from the home favourites.
Chidi Edeh got East Bengal ahead from a 32nd minute penalty while Peter Carvalho fetched the equaliser from an 83rd minute corner.
The penalty highlighted the dominance of East Bengal in the first half. The home side ruled the turf with a well laid out offensive display as Dempo showed a more defensive orientation.
Having played a scrappy game in their previous round match for a solitary goal win against Pune FC, East Bengal rose to the occasion against Dempo with more positive approach. Their effort paid off well as East Bengal created numerous openings as their defensive opponent allowed more space in the midfield.
Subhashish Roy Chowdhury in the Dempo goal had to take extra load as he thwarted at least two good attempts from the East Bengal strikers - Chidi and Manandeep Singh - who found two clear scoring chances in the 10th and 12th minutes, respectively.
Chidi's first effort in the 10th minute hit the side-netting while Manandeep, who was laid off with a long midfield floater, essayed a smart chip just to see the Dempo goalkeeper making a sharp catch showing good anticipation.
Mahesh Gawli, the mainstay of the Dempo defence, made the cardinal error of bringing down the East Bengal midfielder Orji Penn, who appeared to break free at the former's goalmouth.
Referee Ajit Meetei had no hesitation in ruling it a penalty and booked Gawli in the process.
Chidi scored from the spot with a nicely angled shot that sneaked past Subhasish, who had dived in the right direction.
The second half saw the hosts a lot subdued as they tried to check their offensive play apparently to protect their lead.
Dempo took advantage of the situation and made one of the rare breakthroughs in the 57th minute when their Japanese striker Ryuiji Sueoka moved in dangerously into the East Bengal box.
The striker could not take his shot as he tripped and fell after getting entangled with East Bengal defender Saumik Dey. Dempo's call for penalty was rejected by referee Meetei, which got the Goa team's players mobbing and pushing the match supervisor.
Meteei instead booked Sueoka for diving as the television replays showed Saumik trying to run away from the Japanaese in a bid to avoid a collision.
East Bengal got three more chances to double the lead but the second goal remained elusive as Chidi failed to reach the ball in the first occasion in the 62nd minute while Naoba Singh long-ranger went inches over in 76th minute.
Substitute Robin Singh, who replaced Manandeep in the 78th minute, missed a sitter when he delayed his shot despite being reached unmarked on top of the 6-yard box by a minus from Penn.
Robin's miss hurt East Bengal badly as Dempo equalised six minutes later. East Bengal's hard work was negated in the 83rd minute when Dempo midfielder Peter Carvalho nodded home a corner from substitute Joaquim Abranches.
Dempo coach Armando Colaco succeeded in a late gamble as he made three changes to between 64th and 74th (bringing in Rowilson Rodrigues for Mahesh Gawli, Abranches for captain Clifford Miranda and Rohan Ricketts for Koko Sakibo) and effectively turned the tide against the host.