Injury-time goals by Nigerian Elijah Obagbemiro Junior enabled Air India to salvage some pride as they shared points with Sikkim United FC following a 3-3 draw in the seventh round of the I-League at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here on Monday.
With four points from seven matches, Air India are placed at the bottom of the table (14th position) while the draw helped Sikkim go up to 11th position with six points from eight matches.
The Airmen came back strongly in the match against the young Sikkim side. Junior converted penalties in the 45th of the first half and in the fourth minute of injury time of the second half while Gagandeep Singh chipped in with an 89th minute for the Mumbai outfit.
A double strike by Nurudeen Salau (45+2 and 73rd) and Anwar Ali (90th) saw Baichung Bhutia’s side share points for the second successive match at the same venue.
Penalties seem to haunt the Sikkim side. “It is happening time and again and we have so far conceded five penalties. We will have to work on it,” said Bhutia. “I do not blame the officials but we are rubbed on the wrong side time and again,” said the former Indian skipper who also played on Tuesday.
“One point is much better than no point and we are happy with the outcome of this match,” said Bhutia. Defensive lapses cost AI dear as both the goals scored by Salau were a result of them. “We let off our rival strikers as there was no communication in the defence line,” said AI coach Anthony Fernandes.