Ten-man East Bengal hold Mohan Bagan 1-1

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Kolkata, Oct 25 (UNI) Trailing by a dramatic first minute goal from Bhaichung Bhutia, arch rival East Bengal rallied brilliantly from behind with 10 men to hold Mohun Bagan 1-1 in the fifth round of the Indian league at Yuba Bharati Krirangan here today.

Drama unfolded two minutes into the play from a brilliant right footed grounder from captain Bhaichung Bhitia, who took field after a gap of three matches in the IL. He was rested for ankle injury after the opener in which Bagan lost to Mumbai FC 1-2.

The goal came from a counter move as Kashmiri medio Ishfaq Ahmed advanced a pass though the gap of Suleh Musha and Jayanta Sen to Bhutia, who unleased a grounder as Subrata Pal watched on helpless.

Midfielder Ahmed was adjudged man-of-the-match.

Six minutes later Sur Kumar Singh had made an attempt to level the score but his shot went wide by inches. Another set-piece attempt from Yusif Yukubu was fisted out by Shilton Paul in the 35th minute.

Success came two mintues later through Rahim Nabi who was lurking behind Peter Odafe as Yusif Yukubu advanced the ball from the left flank.

Before the break, Sunil Chettri came close to giving EB the lead but agile Shilton Paul swooped down on the ball before any damage was done.

As the second session began, tempers ran high between the rival players when EB's right back Sur Kumar Singh kicked Bagan's Rakesh Mashi off the ball. But Tamil Nadu's referee Pradeep Kumar took control and redcarded the Manipuri player, reducing EB to 10 men.

Kumar also flashed yellow cards to Suley Musha and Subrata Paul for arguing over the red card decision.

But EB stood firm with tenmen for the next 43 minutes and deprived Bagan to notch up their first win in this competition.

A win still eludes former champion Bagan who lost the first two matches and drew as many before taking on East Bengal.

But Bagan maintained their ''undefeated'' tag versus East Bengal in the last eight matches.

In the domestic league, Bagan drew one and won one against their traditional rival.

At the end of the fifth round, EB collected seven points from five plays and Bagan's three points.

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