Kolkata: Aizawl FC held Kingfisher East Bengal to a 2-2 draw in a dramatic late finish at the Salt Lake Stadium in the opening round of the 2017-18 Hero I-League.
Eduardo Ferreira opened the scoring for the hosts before Katsumi Yusa doubled the lead.
However, William Lalnunfela scored a brace that meant the Red and Golds could only muster one point against the defending champions at home.
Kingfisher East Bengal lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with goalkeeper Mirshad and defenders Mehtab Singh and Deepak Kumar.
Mohammed Rafique wore the armband as Eduardo Ferreira, Armand Bazzaou, Mahmoud Al Amna, Katsumi Yusa and Willis Plaza’s inclusion made for an enviable foreign contingent for Khalid Jamil’s side against his former team.
Willis Plaza squandered three opportunities in the first half. Mehtab Singh crossed the ball into the box for the Trinidadian but Plaza was late to react as his first touch failed him in front of the net in the seventh minute.
It was only around the half-time whistle that Aizawl got their first sniff on goal as Alfred Jaryan sent a header wide from a corner.
Avilash Paul was tested thrice around the hour mark but his resolute was broken by Katsumi Yusa’s corner-kick which took Brandon Vanlalremdika nudged towards Eduardo Ferreira and the former Mohun Bagan defender headed home, scoring on debut with his new club.
There was another goal within six minutes by the Kingfisher East Bengal when Paul could not judge the trajectory of the shot from Mohammed Rafique, taking a major deflection off Katsumi Yusa to double the lead for the Kolkata club.
However, Aizawl FC got one back two minutes later as William Lalnufela headed in the ball as Kareem Omolaja guided the ball towards the striker who was unmarked from David Lalrinmuana’s set-piece.
Just as the hosts believed they had got the three points in their kitty Lalthathanga Khawlring’s flag-kick triggered a goalmouth melee and hero earlier, Eduardo Ferreira failed to clear the ball in front of him and Lalnufela was at it again as his left-footer found the back of the net, breaking Kingfisher East Bengal hearts.
Both Kolkata clubs now head into the much-anticipated derby on Sunday with draws to their record.(ANI)