Threatened but not knocked out. That was the summary of the final IFA Shield Group C match that was held up due to unruly crowd behaviour and the Mahindra United goalkeeper being injured by a missile from the stands. Mohun Bagan salvaged a 1-1 draw against the defending champions to set up a semifinal clash with Chirag United.
Needing a win or a draw, Mohun Bagan were in danger of getting neither and must thank an alert Shilton Paul who pulled off at least two critical saves.
Paul was fielded for Sunday’s must-not-lose match because first-choice goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee was unavailable due to a hand injury.
The hosts started on a strong note, with a slew of moves that unsettled the Mahindra United defence.
Marcos Pereira, pairing former Mahindra striker Edeh Chidi upfront, was instrumental in most of the initiatives including a corner-kick that Chidi headed over the horizontal. Minutes later, Mahindra custodian Subhasish Roychowdhury pulled off a goalline save after Chidi tried to tap in a throw from N Mohanraj.
Mohun Bagan took the lead in the 24th minute when Snehasish Chakraborty headed in a curling cross from L. James Singh from the right. That, however, could have been nullified soon had Mahindra’s Serbian import Suetozar Mijin not messed up inside the six-yard box.
The script changed right after the break.
Mahindra coach David Booth introduced Steven Dias and within seconds, Mijin made up for the chance he had missed after K Aseem weaved his way around the defenders and chipped from the left to the Serbian, who headed home.