Air India strike late to hold erratic East Bengal

East Bengal’s I-League aspirations received a big blow when Air India struck through Henry Ezeh in the dying minutes for a 1-1 draw in their 21st round match here on Saturday. 

Leading 1-0 after Edeh Chidi’s 60th minute strike, the last year’s runners up got the shocker in the first minute of added time when Henry outran East Bengal defender Uga Okpara before firing past goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh.

East Bengal dropped to 41 points, one points behind leaders Churchill Brothers with a game in hand.

In Delhi, ONGC’s love affair with the Ambedkar Stadium continued and their unbeaten streak at home this season stretched to nine games when they held league leaders Churchill Brothers to a 1-1 draw.

The result pushed ONGC up by a rung to sixth in the standings, one point ahead of Mumbai FC, who have a game in hand. Churchill stay in the lead with 42 points.
Both the goals came in fortuitous circumstances. Churchill’s Stephen Dias technically opened the scoring in the 47th minute, though the goalbound cross was deflected in off the head of an ONGC defender in a melee.

ONGC had Churchill midfielder Roberto Mendes Silva (Betto) to thank for the equaliser as Japanese import Yusa Katsumi’s corner was guided inadvertently into his own net by the Brazilian.

In Mapusa (Goa), a second-half strike from Milagres Gonsalves saw Salgaocar FC beat Mumbai FC by a solitary goal at the Duler Stadium.

After a barren first half, Salgaocar scored the all- important goal in the 58th minute through Milagres Gonsalves.

The win takes Salgaocar to 23 points from 21 matches while Mumbai FC remained on 26 points from 20 matches.

In Gangtok, Prayag United continued their winning momentum with a 1-0 victory over United Sikkim FC.

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