Kolkata: I-league opens with a thrilling match. East Bengal and Aizawl FC fought for their win in dying minutes but end with draw.
Aizawl FC forward William Lalnunfela completed a brilliant brace in the dying minutes to hold East Bengal 2-2 in their thrilling I-League opener at the floodlit Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday.
Two former Mohun Bagan teammates, Eduoardo Ferreira and Katsumi Yusa, combined well to give East Bengal the lead in the 66th minute and the latter made it 2-0 within six minutes.
After a goalless first hour, all the action centred around the second half as the reigning champions reduced the margin through their 22-year-old forward two minutes after East Bengal took a 2-0 lead.
There was more misery in store as East Bengal blew up the fantastic lead to drop points, much like their arch-rivals Mohun Bagan, as Lalnunfela struck from a goalmouth melee in the stoppage time (90+6th minute).
East Bengal broke the deadlock from a Katsumi Yusa corner and a deflection off Brandon VL was headed home by the Brazilian-born centreback Ferreira.
The ball went in after it hit the bar and went inside the post and coach Khalid Jamil was seen celebrating. East Bengal got a second goal within six minutes, much to their fans’ joy, with a lucky goal that came off a deflection of their Japanese midfielder from Mohammed Rafique’s shot.
Lalnufela struck from a Kareem Omolaja assist with a sloppy East Bengal defence on display inside the box. There were some more anxious moments in the closing minutes and Aizawl made full use to bang in the equaliser.
East Bengal and Mohun Bagan will now head to the season’s first I-League derby on December 3 here with a draw each.