Kolhapur/Kannur/Panaji, Jan 5 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS): East Bengal‘s winning spree in the I-League was stopped on Tuesday against Mumbai FC with a 1-1 draw as rivals Mohun Bagan received a surprise 0-2 defeat from Viva Kerala signing an abysmal beginning to the Kolkata giants’ 2011 journey.
Meanwhile, title holders Dempo SC took full advantage of their home ground with a 2-0 victory over struggling ONGC at Nehru Stadium in Fatroda, Goa.
2010’s tripple crown winners East Bengal received a jolt at Sahu Maharaj ground in Kolhapur, Maharastra, blowing up their one goal advantage at the fag end to share points with Mumbai FC after six straight wins.
Federation Cup and Calcutta Football League winners East Bengal went ahead when Uga Okapra slotted home in the 17th minute. The Ghanaian booted home a return ball from the MFC defenders, who could not fully clear a shot from Tolgay Ozbay of a corner from Sushant Mathew.
Just when East Bengal were brink of a win on their seventh appearance in the I-L, the local boys fought hard and their equaliser came just sixteen minutes ahead of the end.
Mumbai FC, who lost by 0-2 to Mohun in the previous game, came alive on equal footing with East Bengal when Henry Ezeh headed home of a Nicholas pass.
East Bengal, however, still hold atop the pole position with 19 points from 7 games, four points clear of second placed Salgaocar SC, and Mumbai FC in the sixth place with ten points after the seven round.
In Kannur Viva Kerala at their home ground spoiled Mohun Bagan’s rebuilding effort under new technical director Subash Bhowmick with clear 2-0 victory, their first win in this edition.
This was Mohun Bagan third and first defeat under Bhowmick.
Viva Kerala second from bottom scored a goal in each half to show their supremacy over Mohun Bagan, who fielded all first eleven including Jose Barreto and Subair Muritala Ali.
T Karma, who finally took the man of the match award, broke the wall of Mohun Bagan in the 10th minute and Anil Kumar increased the tally in the 73rd minute to set a clear winners against the former champions.
Viva Kerala were on seven points in as seven games and Mohun Bagan remained on eight points, with two wins, two draws and three defeats.
At Nehru Stadium, Fatorda (Goa), Dempo SC, riding on goals from Joaquim Abranches (8th min) and Roberto Mendes (37th min), defeated ONGC taking full advantage of home ground.
Dempo are now 12 points, one point behind third placed Churchill Brothers, and ONGC remained on 4 points.