East Bengal’s dreams of claiming a maiden title suffered a further setback as they dropped points for a second successive match following their 1-1 draw against a 10-man Aizawl FC in the last home match of I-League in Kolkata on Monday.
Leonce Dodoz put Aizawl ahead in the 23rd minute with a superb finish from Alfred Jaryan assist and it took East Bengal more than an hour to equalise in front of a 17,000-odd home fans at the Saltlake Stadium.
Enrique Esqueda headed in the equaliser in the 66th minute from Samad Ali Mallick’s assist.
East Bengal got the numerical advantage two minutes later when Kareem Omolaja Nurain was sent off after receiving a second booking.
Just before the halftime, it would have been worse for the home side as Ansumana Kromah scored but the goal was disallowed by the referee after the Liberian snatched the ball from goalkeeper Rakshit Dagar hands at the time of release.
East Bengal persisted but the winner kept eluding them and in the second minute of stoppage time Jobby Justin strike hit the crosspiece.
This was their second successive draw here after they registered identical result against Churchill Brothers.
The result dealt a huge blow to East Bengal’s title aspiration as they have a seven-point deficit against leaders Chennai City (40) who have two matches left.
East Bengal have three away matches left. They will conclude their campaign facing Real Kashmir, Minerva Punjab and Gokulam Kerala.