Barasat: Mohun Bagan's hopes of retaining the I-League title virtually went up in smokes after they were held to a 3-3 draw by DSK Shivajians in an enthralling I-League contest at the Vidyasagar Krirangan on Saturday.
In a match that had several twists and turns, Mohun Bagan took a lead through Cornell Glenn (26th and 45+1st) but only to crumble under pressure as Derrick Pereira's side showed a lot of promise through a double strike from Juan Quero Barasso (30th and 33rd).
Haitian forward Sony Norde returned to the playing XI and revived the home team's hopes with his 42nd minute strike before Glenn made it 3-2 in an action packed first-half but it was the Pune outfit's Cameroonian recruit Aser Dipanda who gave the thousands of Mohun Bagan fans heartbreak with his 75th minute strike.
Continuing his fine show Dipanda, who had scored an equaliser against former champions Bengaluru FC in his side's previous match, scored a classic header from a Israil Gurung centre.
Mohun Bagan pressed hard for the winning goal but only to return luckless as they would rue Norde's 27th minute strike which seemed to be a goal as Subrata Pal saved the shot apparently from inside the goal-line.
Earlier, after being set up by substitute Jeje Lalpekhlua, Glen scored on the rebound to give the home side the lead in front of a rousing support.
A minute later, they almost doubled the lead with Norde firing a shot from the left and goalkeeper Pal latching on to the ball.
The replays showed the Shivajians' custodian inside the goal-line in his follow through but without a goal-line technology, an unlucky Mohun Bagan had to return empty handed.
Adding to the misery, the Shivajians equalised in the space of four minutes with Quero scoring from a Douhou Pierre pass, beating an advancing Debjit Majumder.
Quero silenced the stadium with his double strike in a matter of few minutes when the Spaniard shot diagonally from the left with Debajit beaten by the pace of the ball.
With his partner missing a minute before, it was Norde who restored parity when he found an opening from the top of the box, beating three defenders on his way with his powerful delivery.
Glen brought the atmosphere alive with his goal, finishing with his left-footer that beat a diving Majumder for a crucial lead.
But once again, Mohun Bagan's defence crumbled under pressure as they extended their winless streak to four matches with their last win coming against Mumbai FC on March 13.
The draw meant it's an advantage for 2013-14 champions Bengaluru FC who are second placed with 26 points from 13 matches while their next opponents East Bengal have 24 from 13.
Mohun Bagan, who now have 27 points from 15 matches, will be hoping against hope to retain the title as they face Bengaluru FC at home in their concluding round match on April 24.
Coach Sanjoy Sen, who returned after serving a four-match ban, effected three changes in his line-up. While Norde replaced Jeje Lalpekhlua, Prabir Das and Sanjay Balmuchu came in place for Pritam Kotal and Kinshuk Debnath in a defense rejig.