Bhubaneswar: Real Kashmir FC maintained their unbeaten record on the road as they stole a crucial point against Indian Arrows following the 2-2 draw at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
After 75 minutes of goalless football, suddenly the match sprung into life which saw four goals in the final 15 minutes of regulation time.
Amarjit Singh (78′) found the target from the penalty spot before Kofi Tetteh (82′) restored the parity from a well-taken corner by Vicky Meitei. Mason Robertson (90′) who was lurking in for a long took the lead once again only to lose it within 60 seconds when Rahul KP headed an Anwar Ali corner home.
Following the result, Real Kashmir took the second spot on the table with 33 points from 17 matches while Indian Arrows reclaimed the seventh spot with 18 points from 19 matches.
Floyd Pinto made as many as seven changes from the last match against Gokulam Kerala FC handing Boris, Narender, Suresh, Ninthoi, Akash and Rohit Danu another start. Moreover, he opted to bring Lovepreet Singh replacing Prabhsukhan Gill under the woodwork.
Real Kashmir coach David Robertson, on the other hand, did not feel to tweak in his strategies having fielded the same starting eleven. The yellow outfit could have taken an early lead in the 19th minute through Danish Farooq but the 22-year-old attacker blew it over the crossbar.
Four minutes later, the visitors came very close to opening the scoreline once again from Surchandra’s corner. The corner landed deep in the penalty box and it was laid off to Bazie whose feeble touch was cleared off by Lovepreet comfortably.
Mason, the usual centre-back, was deployed a bit up by the gaffer in their quest to breach the Arrows defence, outran Sanjiv in the left flank only to see his effort hit the side-netting.
After the half-hour mark, Arrows started to show some urgency but the lack of penetration failed the youngsters till the end. Rohit Danu turned and collected the ball inside the box following a melee but his toe-poke sailed over the woodwork in the 39th minute. Two minutes later, Amarjit put in another delicious pass to Rohit but he miscued the opportunity to let the chance go.
Amarjit continued to dictate the midfield and rolled a dangerous delivery directed to Boris inside the Real Kashmir penalty box but the lanky goalie Bilal Khan valiantly jumped on his feet to avert the danger.
Arrows could have witnessed a splendid goal when Ninthoi hoodwinked it over Mason to rush into the 18-yard-box but eventually, squandered the opportunity.
Rahim Ali won a penalty in the 75th minute when his powerful effort from outside the box hit Ravanan’s hand and the referee did not hesitate to award the youngsters a spot-kick. Skipper Amarjit slotted it calmly past Bilal Khan to send the Arrows dugout into a delirium.
The Srinagar-based outfit changed the gear immediately and finally, they got the elusive goal in the 82nd minute. Vicky Meitei’s corner dipped near the goal and Abednedo Tetteh, who replaced Krizo, leapt high to find the back of the neck.
After netting the equaliser, David Robertson instilled more legs inside the opponent box to net the winner and stunned the Arrows minutes later. Vicky Meitei, the craftsman of the first goal, floated a long ball from the wing to Katebe. After the defender mistimed it, Robertson volleyed it home to take the lead once again.
Their joy was cut short by super-sub Rahul KP who did no mistake to score from a copybook header goal from Anwar Ali’s well-taken free-kick in the first minute of the added time to leave the ground with a point from their final home fixture of the league.
Real Kashmir will now come back to their home to face Quess East Bengal while Indian Arrows will clash their swords with the Mariner on February 28.