It was always going to be an uphill task for the young Indian Arrows to beat Kolkata giants East Bengal but the Round XVI I-League tie which played out to a 1-1 draw at the Tau Devi Lal stadium would have had the Delhi outfit breathing a collective sigh of relief.
Desmond Bulpin's Arrows began with ample flair which definitely caught the visitors on the wrong foot. A chance back-header by Milan Singh off a Lalrin Dika free-kick from the edge of the box sailed past East Bengal custodian Sandip Nandy in the eighth minute to hand the Arrows.
However, East Bengal got back into the game with quick grounded passes being exchanged between Sanju Pradhan, Mehtab Hossain and Nigerian playmaker Penn Orji. Tolgay Ozbey, who missed a plethora of chances through the evening, had his first opportunity in the 14th minute when he missed a sitter of a header from a precise Hossain chip into the box.
The red-and-gold brigade pulled even in the 19th minute when left-back Saumik Dey delivered cross into the penalty area which rebounded off Arrows' keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to fall favourably at the feet of Reisangmei Vashum who did admirably to finish score from a tight angle.
East Bengal missed too many chances despite the lion's share of possession in the second half and the match ended drawn.
As the final whistle blew, Hossain got into a fracas with match referee Md. Kamil. Expletives were exchanged and the midfielder was booked.