Mohun Bagan were held to a 1-1 draw by Chennai City FC at the Kalyani Municipality Stadium on Thursday evening.
Papa Babacar Diawara(45') put the home side ahead but Katsumi Yusa (67') levelled the scores in the second half. With this draw Chennai managed to halt the seven-match winning streak of Mohun Bagan but their unbeaten run continued to 13 matches.
Mohun Bagan coach Kibu Vicuna made three alterations to the side that defeated TRAU 3-1 in the previous match. Shilton D'Silva came in place of a suspended Komron Tursunov, whereas Ashutosh Mehta and Gurjinder Kumar were reinstated in the starting line up in place of Lalramchullova and Dhanachandra Singh respectively.
Whereas his opposite number Akbar Nawas made a single alteration with Jishnu Balakrishnan making way for Rohit Mirza.
The best chances of the first half fell for Chennai City as they were dominating proceedings at the centre of the park. Katsumi Yusa was the livewire on the left flank which kept Ashutosh Mehta on his toes.
In the 15th minute, he dispossessed SK Sahil in a dangerous area and passed the ball to Jockson Dhas who fired a shot from distance but was denied by the woodwork after taking a mild deflection from Fran Gonzalez.
Sriram B was putting in a fantastic shift in midfield and was winning most of the duels against D'Silva which allowed Chennai to dominate the tempo. This also meant that Joseba Beitia was struggling to get a foothold in the match which further complicated matters for Bagan.
Just before the half-hour mark, the visitors got another sight of goal when Katsumi sent Fito Miranda through on goal but the Spaniard's shot missed the target by a whisker.
Mohun Bagan's first significant chance came on the 32nd minute when Beitia struck the crosspiece from a set-piece.
But the Mariners did not have to wait much longer to put their noses in front as they made the most of a mistake by Mirza. The right-back misjudged the bounce of the ball which allowed Nongdamba Naorem to run away from him and set up Papa Diawara. The Senegalese kept his composure in front of goal and calmly slotted past Nauzet Sanatana under the sticks.
Chennai continued to be in the ascendancy in the second half as well. Nawas threw in Charles Anandraj which allowed the defending champions to continue their domination near the centre circle.
The Orange Brigade was finally rewarded by their perseverance in the 67th minute when Yusa scored against his former side. Dhas burnt his pace to beat Gonzalez and then drilled in a low cross for Yusa to simply tap in from handshaking distance of goal.
After conceding Bagan started to raid the opposition fort with more intent. In the 85th minute, Diawara could have scored his second of the night after he headed the ball towards goal from Beitia's free-kick but Santana stuck out a hand to keep the scoreline unchanged.
After this result, Vicuna's men need five more points to lift the trophy, irrespective of other results. They will get back to action on March 10 against Aizawl at home.