With the opening encounter less than a week away, SC East Bengal players logged important minutes as they held Mumbai City FC to a 1-1 draw in a pre-season friendly at the Nagoa Football Ground on Sunday.
Cássio Gabriel got on the scoresheet for Mumbai City FC in the first half as the reigning champions went into the halftime break with a 1-0 lead.
In the second half, Sourav Das equalised for the red and gold brigade as the visiting side created a host of chances with Antonio Perosevic finding the post at least twice.
Coach Jose Manuel Diaz gave a start to birthday boy Suvam Sen in goal.
The versatile Md Rafique played at right-back with Tomislav Mrcela and Franjo Prce pairing up as centre backs.
Hira Mondal played at left-back in a fluid 4-2-3-1 system.
Amir Dervisevic and Darren Sidoel pulled the strings in midfield with Perosevic and Jackichand Singh attacking from the flanks and Amarjit Singh Kiyam operating just above Dervisevic and Sidoel in a midfield diamond.
Semboi Haokip played the lone striker upfront.
Perosevic had a good outing and was at it from the off. The Croatian was fed by Dervisevic but pulled his effort just wide in the 11th minute.
Suvam didn’t have to do a lot between the sticks as the game was largely played in midfield.
Against the run of play, Mumbai took the lead when Gabriel fired a snapshot from a melee inside the box.
SC East Bengal dominated proceedings from the start in the second period.
Sidoel was particularly impressive as he made darting runs inside the box in a more advanced role, and also put Perosevic through with a delectable ball at the hour mark which came off the post.
Perosevic found the crosspiece again but the ball fell kindly for Das who made no mistake from just outside the box to make it 1-1.
The ‘away’ side had a flurry of chances in the dying minutes of the game but lacked the finishing.
SC East Bengal will take on Jamshedpur FC on November 21 at the Tilak Maidan in their ISL-8 opener.