I-League: East Bengal held to a 1-1 draw by Aizawl FC

East Bengal and Aizawl FC split points in I-League opener. New Bukenya scored the equaliser for East Bengal, after Gurwinder Singh's own goal gave Aizawl the lead.

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Kolkata, Jan 7: Kolkata giants East Bengal were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw by a resilient Aizawl FC side in the opening match of I-League 2016/17.

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Gurwinder Singh's first half own-goal gave Aizawl FC the lead. East Bengal's new foreign recruit Ivan Bukenya converted a header late in the second half to equalise.

East Bengal players celebrate after scoring (Image courtesy: I-League Twitter handle)

Trevor James Morgan fielded only one foreign player in his starting XI. In a 4-2-3-1 formation, Mohammed Rafique started as a lone striker.

It was an evenly poised first as both East Bengal and Aizawl FC had their share of attacks but none could convert.

Wedson Anselme, who made his debut for East Bengal came close to score quite a few times in the first half but unfortunately missed.

The deadlock broke at the stroke of half time Gurwinder Singh accidentally kicked the ball into his own net to give the visitors a morale-boosting lead.

Morgan made two changes early in the second half. He introduced another new foreign recruit Willis Plaza into the match in place of Jackichand Singh and replaced young Nikhil Pujari with Abinash Ruidas.

Plaza was particularly impressive with silky footwork and presence on the field. The Trinidad and Tobago international could have found the back of the net but missed out on some golden opportunity,

The third substitution saw East Bengal's third foreign recruit Ivan Bukenya being introduced who replaced Gurwinder.

Bukenya's leadership and gigantic presence is something to take away from an otherwise disappointing match. The Uganda defender scored all-important equaliser in the 89th minute to earn East Bengal a point.

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