East Bengal and Mohun Bagan played out a 2-2 draw in the Calcutta Football League at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.
Pintu Mahata (20') and Henry Kisekka (30') scored to give Mohun Bagan a two-goal lead at half-time. Their arch-rivals hit back soon after the restart through Johnny Acosta (45+2') and Laldanmawia Ralte (61') to level the scores.
Subhash Bhowmick made three changes to the lineup. Samad Ali Mallick, Kamalpreet Singh and Brandon Vanlalremdika returned to the lineup, replacing Koushik Sarkar, Lalrindika Ralte and Surabuddin Mallick.
Sankarlal Chakraborty, on the other hand, made just one change. Lalchhawnkima came back to replace Gurjinder Kumar.
The first proper chance to break the deadlock fell to Mohun Bagan in the sixth minute of the match. Mehtab Singh brought down Aser Dipanda and gave away a free-kick. Henry Kisekka kept his delivery on target from almost 25 yards but Rakshit Dagar somehow kept the ball out.
The Green and Maroons finally broke the deadlock in the 20th minute when Pintu Mahata found the back of the net from Arijit Bagui's cross. An unmarked Mahata received the ball inside the box slotted it home.
Bagan doubled their lead in the 30th minute Arijit Bagui's crossed once again for Henry Kisekka to convert from inside the box. Once again the East Bengal defenders were at fault as the Mohun Bagan players were unmarked inside the penalty box.
Bhowmick brought on Lalrindika Ralte in the 40th minute in place of Kamalpreet Singh. The former Minerva Punjab player had a nightmare outing in his maiden derby. After performing consistently in the first six matches of the season, Singh miserably failed in the defensive midfield role.
Johnny Acosta pulled one back just three minutes before the half-time whistle. Lalrindika Ralte's cross was played by Mehtab Singh towards Acosta who attempted a point-blank header. Shilton Paul failed to grab the ball and Kim Kima's attempted clearance hit Acosta on his chest and went in.
The Red and Golds went all guns blazing in the second half as they searched for an equaliser.
Sankarlal introduced Mehtab Hossain in the 53rd minute in place of Shilton Dsilva in central midfield. Unfortunately, Mehtab's appearance was short-lived as he got injured within a couple of minutes. The veteran midfielder left the field in agony in possibly the last Kolkata derby of his career.
East Bengal finally equalised at the hour mark as the Raltes combined well. Lalrindika Ralte produced a curling corner which was somehow saved by Shilton but Laldanmawia Ralte slotted the ball home from the rebound.
Bhowmick's men showed intent in the final 15 minutes as they looked more hungry for a win than their rivals. Bagan happily took the back seat and defended with all their might.
The league table remained unchanged after the Kolkata derby was brought to a conclusion at the final whistle, with the scoreline reading 2-2.