Panaji, Jan 30: Captain Danny Fox scored the equaliser in the 65th minute to help SC East Bengal salvage a 1-1 draw against FC Goa in their second-leg Hero ISL clash at the Fatorda Stadium on Friday. The league's top scorer Igor Angulo had earlier put FC Goa ahead in the 39th minute.
SCEB Head Coach Robbie Fowler made five changes to the line-up that started against Mumbai City FC a week ago as Ankit Mukherjee, Milan Singh, Matti Steinmann, Surchandra Singh and Harmanpreet Singh made way for Rana Gharami, Ajay Chhetri, Md Rafique, Bright Enobakhare and Jeje Lalpekhlua.
Playing their fourteenth fixture and seventh 'away' game this season, SCEB won a penalty in the opening minute, after Narayan Das was tripped by Mohamed Ali inside the FCG box.
Anthony Pilkington stepped up to take the spot-kick, but his shot went wide of the target.
SCEB custodian Debjit Majumder, who made eight saves in the first-leg, was called into action early on as he saved Angulo's shot on target in the 5th minute.
The 'visitors' applied constant pressure on the FCG defense by playing high-pressing football and making frequent inroads into the final third.
In the 29th minute, Bright Enobakhare dribbled past a FCG player on the left and laid up a beautiful square ball for Pilkington inside the opposition box, but the latter's backheel flick bore no fruit.
Majumder pulled off a brilliant fingertip save in the 37th minute to keep out Jorge Ortiz Mendoza's goal-bound long-range strike. The shot was heading towards the top corner, but Majumder tracked back in the nick of time to thwart it.
However, the hosts broke the deadlock soon after, courtesy Angulo's 10th Hero ISL goal in the 39th minute. The Spanish striker received a defense-splitting forward through from Alberto Noguera inside the SCEB box, which he didn't fail to bury into an empty net.
Trailing by a goal, SCEB came back much stronger in the second-half and produced a display akin to that of the second-half in the previous game.
The equaliser came in the 65th minute when Danny Fox netted his maiden Hero ISL goal. It was the end result of a Pilkington free-kick placed inside the box, which was spilled by FCG goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh. Fox pounced on the loose ball and drove it home to become SCEB's sixth scorer this season.
FCG skipper Edu Bedia picked up a second yellow card in the 66th minute for making a rash tackle on Pilkington, and subsequently received his marching orders.
SCEB dominated the final quarter, creating a few more chances and piling up more pressure on ten-man FCG.
In the 75th minute, Harmanpreet Singh (substitute for Jeje) nearly made it 2-1 in favour of SCEB. He got on the end of a pinpoint Narayan Das cross from the left flank, but his shot from close range forced Dheeraj into a diving save to the right.
Enobakhare created a couple of more chances in the final ten minutes of the regulation time, impressing everyone with his excellent dribbling skills.
The Nigerian was rightly adjudged the Hero of the Match.
SCEB currently occupy the tenth spot on the league table with thirteen points from fourteen matches (two wins, seven draws and five losses).
Reflecting on the result at the virtual post-match Press conference, Fowler said, 'We are a team that has massively improved. It’s a game that we dominated, and we had a lot of chances that we couldn't convert. There are a lot of positives, but the only negative is that we have not won the game and we missed a few chances.'
SCEB play Bengaluru FC next, at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on February 2.