Karim Bencherifa will face one of his former sides in the last hurdle before the final of the Federation Cup on Thursday...Salgaocar FC held Mohun Bagan to a 1-1 draw in the final Group C match of the Federation Cup 2014 played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, Kerala, on Tuesday evening.
A late goal by Bikash Jairu (80') prevented the Maroon and Green from becoming the only side to move in to the semi-finals of the tournament without conceding a single goal after Odafa Okolie converted from the spot to give Bagan the lead in the 54th minute.
Clifton Dias was missing for Derrick Pereira's side due to a red card he picked up in the last match against Mumbai FC while Freiman Peixoto earned his first start in Salgaocar's colours. On the other hand, Karim Bencherifa named an unchanged first eleven from the one that thrashed Shillong Lajong 6-0.
There was no real threat from both sides until the 18th minute which saw Odafa venture into the box, but the Bagan striker was dispossessed just in time by Augustin Fernandes.
Christopher Chizoba and Darryl Duffy shot wide at either end of the pitch in the first half that lacked chances before Salgaocar midfielder Gilbert Oliveira's scissor-kick attempt from a Jairu cross was blocked by Anyichie Echezona in the 37th minute.
In the 41st minute, Zakeer Mundampara put Chizoba ahead of the Salgaocar defense on the right, but the Nigerian's shot went wide of the far post as the half-time score read 0-0.
Three minutes into the second half, Bagan substitute Ram Malik put in a cross from the right and Rocus Lamare almost deflected the ball into his own net but was saved by the upright.
Augustin Fernandes was deemed guilty of bringing down Chizoba in the box as referee Santhosh Kumar pointed towards the spot and it was Odafa who stepped up to convert the resultant penalty in the 59th minute .
Francis Fernandes was released on the left by Jairu and the India international played it back towards the former Mumbai Tigers player whose header from inside the box missed the right post by a whisker in the 62nd minute.
Three minutes later, Odafa's shot caught Karanjit Singh's palm on the way to goal, but Salgaocar defender Nicolau Colaco pulled off a goal-line clearance.
Then against the run of play, Jairu scored the equaliser through a fierce left-footed shot from about 30 yards out which dipped right behind Shilton Paul and into the back of the net.
With the draw, Mohun Bagan topped the group with seven points while Derrick Pereira's side finish their campaign having earned four points from three matches.
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