Today Mohun Bagan met JCT in Ludhiana for the 19th match and it Karim knew it would be no a walk in the park as JCT are a good side, and this season since they didnot have a good outing, the slightest possibility of them being relegated has sparked off some brilliant performances of late. At home, JCT would be a stiff competitor as they had defeated Sporting Clube de Goa last weak 2-0. Churchill Bros. also had their 21st match today against Air India in Mumbai.
Bagan started on an attacking note, making their intention clear that they have come for three points and their efforts were paid off. As early as in the 8th minute of the match, Manju stabbed in a free ball in front of the JCT goal which was sent in from a corner.
Bagan it seemed had done their job and became a bit complacent and JCT stepped on the gas and came up with a few positive moves and Bagan was lucky not to conceded from on such occasions, when the ball came off the Bagan post. Manju, however, came up with a goal line clearance at the closing stages of the 1st half.
Bagan had their share of chances too but Ishfaq and Bhaichung were way ward with their attempts, otherwise Bagan could have doubled their lead.
The second half saw Jct's Edu take the field and it was clear from Sukhwinder that JCT had no intentions of letting Bagan go away with three points.
It was action packed game with end to end action ensuring enough chances for both the teams to score but both teams lacked finishing. Edu missed a couple of chances and so did Bhaichung and Barreto.
However, in the 78th minute, JCT equalised through an own goal by Rahul Kumar, who otherwise had a good game on the right back position with good overlapping runs and sending in precise centres.
Karim did bring on Branco, 10 minutes from regulation time, but to no avail.
It seems of late, the team is suffering from conceding late goals. The team is becoming too complacent after the one goal lead and that is showing in their game and allowing the opposition to get on top of them.
Bagan however did not surrender to the fate and tried to squeeze the winner and in the injury time, Barreto's header struck the bar.
However, Bagan has been given another chance by Churchill. Technically, had Churchill won their match today against Air India, Bagan practically would not have had any chances for the League title. But Churchill today after taking the lead in the injury time of the first half, conceded a 90th minute goal to share points with Air India and to keep Bagan hopes alive. Bagan has to shrug off their complacent attitude and move on with their remaining games and win the remaining three matches and hope that Churchill give them an early Christmas gift in their last match.