Prayag United erased a two-goal deficit to hold title aspirant Kingfisher East Bengal 2-2 in a 22nd round match of the I-League here on Friday.
East Bengal went ahead with goals from Nigerian Edeh Chidi and Manandeep Singh.
Prayag found the target twice in the space of three minutes through Costa Rican World Cupper Carlos Hernandes and Nigerian Ranti Martins.
After a few unsuccessful attempts by the Prayag strikers — Mohammad Rafiq and Martins — East Bengal took the lead. It was a lucky goal as Chidi’s 41st minute effort rebounded off Prayag custodian Sangram Mukherjee and took a deflection off both uprights before rolling in.
East Bengal doubled the lead after the break, cashing in on a costly error from Sangram, who brought down East Bengal midfielder Ishfaq Ahmed. Manandeep made no mistake with the penalty, placing the ball neatly past the Prayag custodian.
Just when East Bengal appeared to be cruising towards an easy win, a stray attempt from Hernandes and a costly slip by the East Bengal goalkeeper turned things round in the 63rd minute.
Sandhu spilled the ball, and to his horror, saw it enter the goal as he tried to block a long-ranger from Hernandes.
Prayag kept up the pressure and slammed home the equaliser in the 66th minute when Ranti fired from close after being released by a fine through-pass from Hernandes.
East Bengal now has 42 points from 22 matches and remains in the second spot while Prayag has 35 from 22.
At Kolkata: East Bengal 2 (Edeh Chidi 41, Manandeep Singh 49-pen) drew with Prayag United 2 (Carlos Hernandes 63, Ranti Martins 66).
At Mumbai: Mumbai FC 1 (Yousif Yakubu 44-pen) drew with Pailan Arrows 1 (Ongnam Milan Singh 26-pen).