MUMBAI: Mahindra United overturned a 0-2 deficit into an entertaining 2-2 draw against Kingfisher East Bengal in the ONGC Cup 11th National Football League, here, on Friday.
Mahindra retained the second position with 15 points, behind Dempo Sports Club (17). The Kolkata side (15) remains in third place due to an inferior goal difference.
Abhishek Yadav and powerful striker Andrew Mensah struck late in the second half to force a draw in the eighth round, after two goals against the run of play by Edmilson Marques put EB in command. Yadav, pushed into the attack as a substitute, punished a tired defence by charging ahead and nodding home a free-kick by N.P. Pradeep past goalkeeper Abhra Mondal in the 58th minute. Mensah then finished off a passing bout through the middle in the 89th minute.
Edmilson Marques, the Brazilian in the Kolkata ranks, played the role of roving striker. MU faced trouble in the 30th minute, when a penalty kick was awarded against defender Pradeep for a foul in the penalty area. Marques converted with a placement to the right corner.
Later MU goalkeeper Sandip Nandy watched in horror as Marques sneaked in behind Mahesh Gawli to volley home on the run.
The confusion took place after a goal-kick by Mondal saw the ball bouncing into empty space behind the defence, but too far out for Nandy to collect. The latter waited for Gawli to rush back in time and was caught out of position when the EB striker punished the central defender's slow reaction.