Martins helps Prayag hold ONGC

Nigerian striker Ranty Martins’ timely equaliser in the 87th minute helped Prayag earn a point against ONGC after their third round I-League encounter ended in a 1-1 draw on Friday.

Prayag now have seven points from three matches while ONGC who had lost their first two games opened their account.

ONGC got their lead in the 36th minute when Nigerian forward Eric Brown’s curling left-footed free-kick beat an outstretched Subrata Paul’s hands to enter the net.

It was a match that the Kolkata outfit started as overwhelming favourites but by the time referee Tejas Nagvenkar blew the long whistle, Sanjay Sen’s boys were lucky to have escaped with a draw. Atleast a point is better than nought.

ONGC coached by Subrata Bhattacharya (Jr) should have won the match by 4-1 margin had their Japanese recruit Yusa Katsumi been lucky on a couple of occasions while other one Subrata Paul was the saviour. Gourmangi Singh had a horrible day in office as Katsumi made a mockery of him repeatedly dribbling past him as well snatching balls.

There was a fair amount of interest about Costa Rican World Cupper Carlos Hernandez but he turned out to be an utter disappointment. He was rightly taken off at the stroke of an hour as coach Sen replaced him with New Zealander Kayne Vincent who certainly added a bit of mobility upfront. Carlos was very angry with Sen’s decision as he didn’t sit in the reserve bench and just banged the door on his way to the dressing room.

Had ONGC not played with a defensive mindset during the last half an hour, the Mumbai team could have ended on a winning note. Creating a melee in the 18-yard box worked but the pressure was too much to handle. Ultimately in the 87th minute, Lester Fernandes floated one in the box from left flank as Ranty outjumped his marker Hassan Adeola to beat veteran goalie Bilifang Narzary with a header.

Immediately after the equaliser, Prayag got a free-kick and Katsumi's booming free-kick hit the horizontal. ONGC's scorer Eric got marching orders after that as he received his second yellow card for a foul on Gourmangi. At the stroke of 90th minute, Katsumi had Paul at his mercy and his placement hit the post.

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