Strugglers SC East Bengal pulled off a draw against Chennaiyin FC thanks to a double by German striker Matti Steinmann in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Saturday. The result was East Bengal''s third draw out of seven matches -- the rest being defeats.
Chennaiyin FC struck first -- a 13th minute strike from Lallianzuala Chhangte -- and led 1-0 at half time. Steinmann equalised in the 59th minute. Chennaiyin, however, went ahead in the 64th minute through Rahim Ali before East Bengal restored parity.
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With the result, Chennaiyin, who have two wins, two losses and three draws, moved to seventh spot with nine points while East Bengal remained in 10th place with three points.
In an action-packed first half, Chennaiyin took the lead in the 13th minute. Chhangte''s first goal of the season came when he ran 40-odd yards and placed his shot past a diving Debjit Majumder. The scoreline remained so with Chennaiyin defenders keeping the East Bengal strikers at bay with some solid work.
In the second half, Steinmann levelled the scores via a header. The midfielder ran in to receive a cross at the near post, towering over the Chennaiyin defenders to place his header into the far post.
Ali put Chennaiyin back in front, the goal following superb work down the right side by him, Rafael Crivellaro and Jakub Sylvestr. East Bengal looked a tad sluggish during the move. Sylvestr passed the ball to Ali, who got the better of Bikash Jairu before slotting it past Majumder.
An error from Chennaiyin goalie Vishal Kaith allowed Steinmann to score five minutes later, and bring East Bengal on level terms.
Jairu took a corner from the right and played it deep onto the far post for Daniel Fox, whose header was saved but Kaith gloved it into the path of Steinmann who poked the ball into the back of the net.
East Bengal coach Robbie Fowler commended his players for the fight shown and said they are working hard and catching up after the slow start to the season.
"It's easy to sit and criticise when you haven't won the game,” he said. “We showed a lot of fight and passion but we are being the blackball here. It's about catching up for us and we showed a lot of fight. Let's start with the positives here. That's what happens in football games. We have a plan A and Plan B but the first half wasn't a great performance. Lads at halftime had a few words to turn this around. We tweaked the game in the second half.."
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