Chennai, Nov 25 (IANS): Ninthoinganba Meetei netted an equaliser late into the second half as Chennaiyin FC played out a 1-1 draw with East Bengal FC in the 2023-24 Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, here on Saturday.
East Bengal took the lead in the first half against the run of play through an own goal by midfielder Ayush Adhikari in the 29th minute. Meetei scored the only goal for the home side in the 86th minute of an exciting contest.
The Marina Machans found their feet in the game early on as a long-range attempt of Adhikari from outside the box was saved by the away team in the seventh minute. Jordan Murray soon found himself in the mix of the action and hit a right-footed shot from the centre of the box that went high over the bar.
In the 29th minute, East Bengal orchestrated a decisive play that bore fruit when Vishnu Valappill's precise cross was inadvertently directed into the net by Adhikari, resulting in an own goal. However, the Owen Coyle men kept their attacking game intact in search of a goal.
Murray came close to scoring the equaliser before goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill saved his left-footed volley from the left side of the post.
The second half also saw Chennaiyin pushing for their first goal and they almost scored when Meetei took a shot from outside the box in the 59th minute. East Bengal's resolute defence blocked the shot and then neutralised an attempt by Ankit Mukherjee from the left side of the six-yard box.
Goalkeeper Debjit Majumder kept the home team in the match with a fine save in the 72nd minute on the shot of India international Mandar Rao Dessai. Chennaiyin netted the equaliser when Rafael Crivellaro found Meetei on the right flank in the 86th minute and the youngster made no mistake in putting the ball into the back of the net.
Irfan Yadwad missed a chance in stoppage time after Crivellaro's perfect pass from the left flank found him in the centre of the box.
Chennaiyin FC will now face Kerala Blasters on November 29 while East Bengal FC will take on NorthEast United FC on December 4.