Vasco da Gama (Goa), Nov 21 (MNN) SC East Bengal and Jamshedpur FC played out a 1-1 draw to begin their respective campaigns in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) here on Sunday.
Franjo Prce opened the scoring for East Bengal in the 17th minute before Peter Hartley equalised for Jamshedpur FC in the 45th minute at the Tilak Maidan Stadium.
Jamshedpur FC pressed for the winner but neither team could find a decisive goal.
The game got off to a cagey start as both teams were happy to gauge each other but it was SC East Bengal who created the first opening in the seventh minute on a counter-attack. Lalrinliana Hnamte received the ball from the flank in space but fired it straight to TP Rehenesh in the Jamshedpur FC goal.
At the other end, Nerijus Valskis showed off his skills controlling the ball beautifully before firing goalwards two minutes later. His shot though was eventually blocked as East Bengal survived the scare.
With East Bengal happy to play on the counter and threaten on set-plays, the Red and Golds did well to profit from a corner in the 17th minute. Bikash Jairu’s corner was punched away by Rehenesh only for East Bengal to send it back into the box where Prce was there to guide it goalwards. His effort took multiple deflections before finding its way into the Jamshedpur FC net.
The Red Miners responded well to falling behind, putting East Bengal under pressure but couldn’t conjure up any clear-cut chances.
As the half drew to a close, East Bengal upped the ante to turn the tables on Jamshedpur FC who had to defend resolutely to keep the Red and Golds out.
But with three minutes added on, it was Jamshedpur who scored against the run of play when Hartley turned in Valskis’ header from an Alexander Lima corner.
The teams went into the second half level-pegging, a scoreline that neither team could argue about.
Owen Coyle made two changes at the break bringing in Ishan Pandita and Komal Thatal for Pronay Halder and Boris Singh. The two substitutes almost made an instant impact two minutes into the second half when Thatal’s shot was deflected in Pandita’s path but the former FC Goa goalkeeper could only find the goalkeeper.
Jamshedpur dominated the ball for majority of that second half but couldn’t work Arindam Bhattacharja in the East Bengal goal. The Red and Golds had a few half chances to snatch it late on especially with Jackichand Singh almost executing an outrageous attempt from outside the box to catch Rehenesh who was off his line in the second minute of stoppage time.
Eventually the teams settled for a draw to record their first points of the season.
Jamshedpur FC take on FC Goa in their next match on Friday while SC East Bengal face arch-rivals ATK Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata derby on Saturday.