Cuttack: Defending champions Mohun Bagan played out a 1-1 draw against Bengaluru FC but still ended on top of Group B in the 38th Federation Cup football tournament on Friday.
Alwyn George's 12th-minute strike was cancelled by a 50th minute Sony Norde goal for Mohun Bagan as both teams shared the spoils.
Both Mohun Bagan (7 points from 3 matches) and Bengaluru FC (4 points from 3 matches) qualified for the semi-final stage of the tournament.
Bengaluru needed at least a draw to progress to the semi-finals and Alberto Roca's team showed signs of taking the match by the scruff of the neck in the opening minutes itself.
They took the lead in the 12th minute after Alwyn George cut in from the right flank and released a shot which beat Debjit Majumder on the near post.
In the 30th minute, Katsumi Yusa's header earned a reflex save from Amrinder Singh after the Japanese was found in the box by Jeje Lalpekhlua's header, as Mohun Bagan pressed for the equaliser.
Despite Bagan dominating possession in the final third for the latter half of the first half, the Bengaluru FC defence kept out the trio of Jeje, Katsumi Yusa and Sony Norde, giving them no time at all to shoot.
Norde, who usually dropped deep to collect the ball, was out-muscled off possession by Bengaluru bodies in defence.
In the 50th minute, Sony Norde found the back of the net after his shot from a distance curled into Amrinder's goal to level proceedings.
Bengaluru FC pressed to score again and Doungel's shot in the 59th minute went inches over the bar.
Playing cautiously after scoring, Mohun Bagan put more bodies in the midfield to counter the free-flowing attacks of Bengaluru FC.
With a draw enough to get them into the knock-out stage, both teams played the rest of the match cautiously without over committing to attacking.
10-man Shillong edge past DSK Shivajians
Ten-man Shillong Lajong defeated DSK Shivajians 3-2 in an exciting encounter to register their first victory in the ongoing Hero Federation Cup at the Barabati Stadium on Friday.
Lajong played with a man down for the latter half of the second half after Vishal Kaith was sent off in the 75th minute.
Strikes by Alen Deory (49') and Redeem Tlang (68') for Lajong cancelled Halicharan Narzary's brace (64', 86'). But Lajong left it late as Samuel Lalmuanpuia scored in the dying embers (90+2') to give the Shillong outfit their first win of the tournament.
Updated Date: May 12, 2017 22:52 PM