Goalkeeper Shabeer PM came up with an excellent show as Kerala club Eagles FC held favourites MumbaiTigersto a 1-1drawin a second division I-league match on Tuesday. In the day’s other match, Kalighat MSbegan their campaign on a high defeating Hindustan FC by a solitary goal.
The Mumbai club, formerly Dodsal FC, went into the match high on confidence led by seasoned campaigner Paresh Shivalkar with former India and Mahindra star NP Pradeep in the playmaker’s role. Tigers began to assert themselves early on and forced a flurryof cornersfrom either flanks. In the 20th minute, Shivalkar curved one in nicely from the fourth corner andSenegalesestriker Demba Dikhate leapt high at the far post but missed narrowly.
Nextcametwofreekicks as the Eagles defenders tried to avert danger by smothering the movesof striker Durga Boro. Both the kicks were from striking distance but first Pradeep andthen Shivalkar failed totroubleShabeer.Tigerswon their third freekick from the top of the semicircle in the 31st minute andPradeep came up with a thundering shotthat flew into the right corner. However, an alertShabeer fisted it out of danger. Eagles came out charging after the break but were unable to take the lead. The Tigers coach made a double change, 12 minutes after resumption, bringing in Mohammed Rafi and Bikash Jairu but it didn’t bring the desired results with Rafi clearly not at his best.
Eagles, coached by KK Satheesan, took the lead against the run of play in the 73rd minute when substitute Britto PM latched on to superb pass from local boy M Suji Kumar after slipping the offside trap and slotted home to trigger celebrations on the team bench. But their celebrations didn’t last long as TigersstruckbackthroughDikhate who finally repaid the coach’s faith in him. The goal came in the 79th minute even as the coach almost replaced him withDada Nabeel, another local boy, but the equalizer forcedhim to abortthesubstitution. Tigers then went close more than once but it was Shabeer’s day. And finally when Rafi beat him at the near post in the 88th minute defender Rino Anto came up with a goalline save.
Kalighat score: Earlier, Kalighat MS began their campaign with a 1-0 victory against Delhi club Hindustan FC. After a goalless first half, that saw the Kolkata side failing to assert themselves despite superior ball possession, Liberian James Gbilee scored the winner in the 50th minute. The move began through the right flank and skipper Tanmoy Kundu’s floater created panic in the rival box. Hindustan’s Nigerian defender Onyegbule Uchechukwu’s clearance hit the post and Gbilee made the most of the rebound.
Results: Kalighat MS: 1 (James Gbilee 50) bt Hindustan FC: 0; Mumbai Tigers FC: 1 (Demba Dikhate 79) drew Eagles FC: 1 (Britto PM 73). Today’s match: South United vs NRB Vasco (4 pm).