Eagles hold wayward Tigers

Senegalese striker Dikhate nets equaliser for fancied Mumbai outfit

Eagles hold wayward Tigers

A delay in substitution eventually turned a blessing for Mumbai Tigers as Demba Dikhate headed home their equaliser in a face saving 1-1 verdict against Eagles FC in their Group ‘C’ Round I Second Division I-League encounter at the Bangalore Football Stadium here on Tuesday.

Down by a goal in the 73rd minute, the Tigers, as a last throw of the dice, were poised to substitute the Senegal-born striker Dikhate — who had squandered half a dozen scoring opportunities — with Mohamed Dada Nabeel.

Nabeel was getting ready to go in but on the field, things changed quickly with Dikhate heading home a left-wing cross from substitute Bikash Jairu at the far post for the equaliser, prompting coach Mahesh Lotlikar to drop the substitution plans.

Earlier, totally against the run of play, P M Britto placed a through ball from M Suji Kumar to the right of an advancing Tigers’ goalkeeper Arup Debnath to put Eagles ahead. With a few former India players in their squad, Tigers were fancied to progress to the next round. And true to their billing, the Mumbai side dominated the proceedings but failed to find the net.

Paresh Shivalkar exploited Eagles’ weak left wing quite often and sent as many as three excellent passes to Dikhate, who squandered clear goal-scoring opportunities. The most embarrassing miss came in the 35th minute when Dikhate, in a one-on-one situation with Shabeer P M, volleyed straight at the Eagles’ custodian.

After a barren first-half, Eagles fared much better in the second half but never threatened the rival citadel until Britto put the Kerala outfit ahead.

The goal put life into the match with Tigers pressing hard for the equaliser which they deservedly earned through Dikhate.  Eagles then had to go through a few anxious moments before the final whistle to earn a point.

Earlier, Kolkata side Kalighat Milan Sangha FC rode on a 50th minute strike from James Gbilee to edge out Hindustan FC 1-0.

Wednesday’s match: SUFC vs Vasco SC (4.00 pm).

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