Sports Reporter

KOLKATA: Salgaocar SC of Goa held home favourite East Bengal 1-1 in an absorbing second round encounter of the 10th National Football League here at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday evening.

The clash between the two former champions witnessed a nice equilibrium as goals were traded in either session, each of which saw the two sides dominant in turns. East Bengal, playing without a foreign import, took the lead thorough its striking ace Baichung Bhutia in the 33rd minute and led the first half 1-0.

Salgaocar made the best of having two Brazilians in its ranks and got the equaliser through one of the two - Fabio Dos Passos - in the 61st minute. Both East Bengal and Salgaocar have four points each after two matches.

The first session saw exchanges on even par though East Bengal appeared to have an edge with better exchanges in the midfield. The most notable factor was the dynamism of the home team's captain, Baichung Bhutia.

The star striker presented a rejuvenated self and covered a wide area on the field to aid both the midfield and attack. It was this mobility of Bhutia that foxed his marker, Manitombi Singh of Salgaocar, and ensured the break for East Bengal.

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