Former champions Mohun Bagan survived a scare before holding relegation-wary Gokulam Kerala FC 2-2 in their return leg I-League fixture at the Saltlake Stadium here Wednesday.
Shilton D’Silva made an impact in his comeback match, giving the Mariners an 18th minute lead from a Sony Norde’s curling corner.
But what followed was a brain fade in the home team’s camp with Lalchhawnkima finding his own net with a misplaced clearance from Bijesh Balan’s cross in the 21st minute.
Within a space of three minutes, Marcus Joseph capitalised on a pass from Suhair VP before shooting the ball over Shilton Paul to give the Kerala outfit a superb 2-1 lead inside the half-an-hour mark.
Aser Dipanda scored at the hour-mark after being set up by Henry Kisseka from the edge of the box as Mohun Bagan managed to secure a point after their 0-2 humiliation in the Kolkata derby against East Bengal.
Mohun Bagan now have 22 points from 15 matches and their title hopes are as good as over, while Gokulam Kerala still remained in the relegation zone with 12 points from 14 matches.
Both the teams played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg fixture.
Earlier, Gokulam had a golden chance to go ahead in the very first minute when Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Shilton Paul found himself out of place.
But Mohun Bagan found luck by their side with the advancing Joseph’s shot missing the target by a whisker.
Gokulam dominated the hosts in the midfield as Mohun Bagan struggled to get the ball.
In the eighth minute, Mohun Bagan wasted two chances with Dipanda’s scissor kick coming off the crosspiece, while moments later Kisseka’s header was off target.
It was only in the 18th minute when they managed to go up with Norde’s curler from the flagkick.
They failed to hold the lead with a sloppy defending from Lalchhawnkima before their Trinididian forward Joseph put them ahead.
In the end there was some relief for Khalid Jamil when Kisseka set up Dipanda with a lobbed ball before the Cameroonian headed it home.