Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], October 8 (ANI): The seventh match of the I-League qualifiers 2021 was the setting of a pulsating encounter between FC Bengaluru United and debutants Madan Maharaj FC which finished 3-3 at the Bangalore Football Stadium on Friday.
Madan Maharaj took a 2-0 lead through a brace from striker Shubham Bhowmick, before being pegged back to 2-2 by goals from Sanju Pradhan and Arun Kumar.
Both sides shared one goal each in added time of the second half to finish the match with one point each.
Bengaluru United began the encounter by making it clear that they would try to gain the upper hand by monopolising possession of the ball and counter-pressing high up the field immediately in case of losing possession.
As FC Bengaluru United played with high intensity in the opening exchanges, it remained to be seen if the home side could sustain playing with such high energy over the course of the full 90 minutes.
On the other hand, debutants Madan Maharaj FC from Madhya Pradesh looked to bide their time and grow into the game gradually. This approach reaped an early reward for MMFC, who broke the deadlock in the 12th minute through striker Shubham Bhowmick.
In the second half, things turned from bad to worse for Bengaluru United. Madan Maharaj found some room to breathe after doubling their lead in the 52nd minute.
FC Bengaluru United mounted sustained pressure in their search of a way back into the match, and they were finally rewarded in the 68th minute when veteran midfielder Sanju Pradhan displayed his individual brilliance to bring his side back in touching distance.
The home team restored parity at 2-2 in the 80th minute, as Madan Maharaj failed to deal with a low cross into the box from the left. The ball pin-balled after the initial clearance and found its way to Arun Kumar, who placed an efficient grounded finish past Abhishek Calvin.
Madan Maharaj FC looked the more dominant side in the final five minutes, and almost landed the knockout punch after scoring in the 94th minute of the match through substitute forward Jiten Murmu.
The game looked like it was over, with just seconds of additional time left to play. Those remaining few seconds were all it took for FC Bengaluru United to draw level once again.
The result leaves Madan Maharaj FC with a draw from their first match, while FC Bengaluru United remain on two points from two matches after drawing both their games in Group A thus far. (ANI)