Panaji, Nov 22: SC East Bengal started their Hero Indian Super League campaign with a 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco de Gama, Goa, on Sunday.
Croatian centre-back Franjo Prce opened the scoring for SC East Bengal in the 17th minute before skipper Peter Hartley equalised for Jamshedpur FC in the 45th minute.
SC East Bengal head coach Jose Manuel Diaz handed debuts to Hira Mondal and Lalrinliana Hnamte in a 4-4-2 system.
Captain Arindam Bhattacharya played in goal as Prce and Tomislav Mrcela stood in front of him as the centre-backs. Mondal played at left-back with Md Rafique slotted in at right-back position.
The midfield was taken care of by Sourav Das and Wahengbam Angousana with Hnamte and Bikash Jairu deployed wide.
Daniel Chima Chukwu and Antonio Perosevic played up front.
The 'hosts' looked the better team in the opening exchanges and got their reward in the 17th minute. Jairu's corner was punched away by T.P. Rehenesh but only as far as Perosevic, who put the ball back into the box where Prce was on hand to guide it goalwards. His effort took multiple deflections before finding its way into the Jamshedpur FC net.
Perosevic was in inspired form as he troubled the Jamshedpur FC defenders with his incisive runs.
Against the run of play, the away side drew level when Hartley turned in a Nerijus Valskis header from an Alexander Lima corner.
At the break, both teams were locked at 1-1.
Jamshedpur FC coach Owen Coyle made two changes after the restart bringing in Ishan Pandita and Komal Thatal for Pronay Halder and Boris Singh.
Just after the hour mark, Diaz ringed in a couple of changes as well. Chima made way for Amir Dervisevic while Hnamte was taken off for the vastly experienced Jackichand Singh.
Amarjit Singh Kiyam was also brought in for Angousana as Joyner Lourenco came in for Sourav.
Jamshedpur FC enjoyed a lot of ball possession in the second period but couldn’t work Arindam as the Golden Glove winner made some regulation saves.
In stoppage time, Jackichand almost scored the winner for the Red and Golds after attempting an outrageous shot from outside the box to catch Rehenesh off guard.
SC East Bengal face arch-rivals ATK Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata derby on Saturday.