Kolkata, Feb 17 (IANS) Defending champions Mohun Bagan moved to the top of the table but were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Shillong Lajong FC in an I-League football clash here on Wednesday.
Lajong led 1-0 at half-time with a Konsham Chinglensana Singh strike in the 30th minute. India international Jeje Lalpekhlua restored parity for the title holders in the 59th minute and kept their unbeaten streak intact.
Mohun Bagan improved to 15 points from seven matches displacing similarly placed Bengaluru FC from the top with a superior goal difference. East Bengal are third with a point behind. Lajong have nine points from seven matches but remained in the sixth position.
Lajong were mobile in the first half with their Nigerian midfielder Penn Orji behind most of their moves. Lajong made the Mohun Bagan defence uncomfortable and were rewarded when they were unable to defend a corner from Brazilian forward Uilliams Bomfins.
The corner tapped in from close range by Konsham.
Mohun Bagan were unable to get into their stride before and after the goal though they took several sighters. Trinidadian striker Cornel Glen narrowly missed the target with a shot in the ninth minute.
They tried to up the momentum after conceding.
Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa’s corner was pushed towards goal by Haitian forward Sony Norde but it was blocked on the line by defender Aibor Khangjee.
But Mohun Bagan looked shaky at the back and went into the break trailing by the solitary goal.
Mohun Bagan attacked with renewed vigour after the breather with Norde beginning to threaten from the left flank.
Coach Sanjoy Sen brought in midfielder Souvik Chakraborty and striker Balwant Singh for Keane Lewis and Glen.
They equalised at the stroke of the hour when Jeje shook off his defender inside the box and coolly slotted in after being assisted by Bikramjit Singh.
It increased the home team’s confidence and they created several chances after equalising.
Norde moved menacingly into the box in the 80th minute and squared it for Jeje whose left footer was palmed away by goalkeeper Vishal Kaith.
Moments later a fine cross from the right was headed in by Balwant at the far post but it rebounded off the pole.
Lajong were content to play for a draw and they defended desperately under intense pressure to earn a point.