Bengaluru FC had nearly conjured up the perfect beginning to its competitive history until Mohun Bagan snatched a point with a last-gasp goal.
In an air of electric anticipation here on Sunday, Bengaluru FC led 1-0 in its I-League opener until C.S. Sabeeth scored deep into stoppage time.
Before a vociferous home crowd at the Bangalore Football Stadium, estimated at beyond 6000, the match brimmed over with incident.
Both sides missed a penalty and hit the woodwork a couple of times while Bengaluru FC spurned a number of second-half chances before losing a man and soon the lead.
The host conceded a penalty only eight minutes in, but Katsumi Yusa, who had won it, saw his shot saved by Pawan Kumar.
The Japanese was excellent for the rest of the match, though, driving Bagan forward and even striking the crossbar twice.
The visitor had pressed at a hard initial tempo but the game soon settled down. The Bengaluru FC captain John Johnson, an invincible aerial presence at centre-half, came close with a header that struck the upright.
The first goal arrived in the second half, Australian Sean Rooney tapping the right-back Vishal Kumar’s cross in at the far post. Barely a minute later, Aiborlang Khongjee fouled Pereira in the box; but Rooney’s effort from the spot was poor and easily saved.
Bagan flagged as Bengaluru FC stepped the pace up; substitute Sunil Chhetri and the young, impressive Siam Hangal both missed from close range.
This profligacy returned to haunt the team; Thoi, on a yellow card already, was booked — rather harshly — for simulation in the 90th minute.
At the other end, Bagan won a corner and Sabeeth buried his header in the net.
The result: Bengaluru FC 1 (Sean Rooney 50) drew with Mohun Bagan 1 (C.S. Sabeeth 90+1).