There was late drama aplenty as ATK Mohun Bagan went down 2-3 to Rajasthan United at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata after Chennaiyin FC let a one-goal lead slip late on in the game against Army Red as the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

For Chennaiyin, Julius Duker (89th) and Edwin Vanaspaul scored late (90+4th) while L Khongsai (55th) and Liton Shil (90+6th) scored for the Armymen.

Chennayin FC fielded eight new players in their starting line-up — Ajith Kumar, Fallou Diagne, Aakash Sangwan, Duker, Sajal Bag, Jiteshwar Suingh, Jockson Dhas, and Petar Sliskovic — while skipper Anirudh Thapa, goalkeeper Debjit Majumdar and Narayan Das were the old faces.

After a slow start, Thomas Brdaric’s men eased into the game and dominated proceedings for most of it.

Croatian forward Sliskovic was played through by Jiteshwor but his shot sailed over the crossbar.

Thapa then made a lunging effort right at the brink of half-time but the Army Red custodian showed good reflexes to deny the two-time Hero ISL champions as both sides failed to break the deadlock at half-time.

Army Red broke the deadlock through L Khongsai’s header from a corner 10 minutes after the change of ends.

Trailing by a goal, Chennaiyin FC changed gears in a bid to find the much-needed equaliser in the final quarter of the game.

In the 69th minute, Duker’s shot hit a flurry of red shirts to deny Chennayin a way back into the contest.

A couple of minutes later, Sliskovic got a double chance inside the box but failed to find the back of the net.

The final moments of the match witnessed heart-thumping action as three goals were scored in a span of 10 minutes.

Duker scored the equaliser for Chennaiyin from Thapa’s corner in the 89th minute.

Edwin Vanasapaul scored his first goal for the club to hand Chennayin the lead with a thunderous volley from outside the box. 

But two minutes later Liton Shil equalised for Army Red to draw curtains on the nail-biting contest.

Chennaiyin FC FC will face reigning ISL champions Hyderabad FC in their second group stage fixture on August 26.

Heartbreak for Mariners

ATK Mohun Bagan went down in their Durand Cup opener in dramatic fashion as Rajasthan United stole the points with an injury-time winner.

Kiyan Nassiri had fired his team in front in the 43rd minute only to see Rajasthan equalise in first-half stoppage time through Bektur Amangeldiev.

New signing Ashique Kuruniyan then fired ATK Mohun back in front in the 46th minute but saw the lead wiped out again through Lalremsanga in the 61st minute. Rajasthan then struck in the sixth minute of stoppage time as Gyamar Nikum silenced the Salt Lake stadium with a game-clinching goal.

ATK Mohun Bagan playing their first game of the season got off to a flying start with chances aplenty in the opening exchanges. The biggest opportunity fell to Liston Colaco who was played in on goal in the 11th minute by Joni Kauko but he fired wide of the target.

Colaco then saw his free-kick tipped over the bar twenty minutes later as ATK Mohun Bagan continued to threaten.

Nassiri then broke the Rajasthan resistance as he finished off a fine cross from Ashique Kuruniyan two minutes from the interval. However, at the other end, Amangeldiev scored an almost identical goal to put the Hero I-League side back on level terms going into the break.

Ashique who had a good first half in green and marron made a dream start to the second as he scored from a Hugo Boumous pass to put ATK Mohun Bagan in front.

Juan Ferrando’s men remained on the front foot as Nassiri was denied by a good save by the goalkeeper. But on the hour mark, Amangeldiev turned provider as Lalremsanga equalised for Rajasthan to finish off a good move.

Manvir Singh had a big chance to score with the net virtually empty with a quarter of an hour to play but couldn’t keep his shot down. Nassiri then struck the woodwork in the 82nd minute just minutes after Rajasthan’s William saw his effort sail inches over the bar at the other end.

Manvir then missed another big chance to give ATK Mohun Bagan the lead two minutes from time before the Mariners were punished for being wasteful as Nikum gave Rajasthan United the lead in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

There was no time to recover from that late goal as Rajasthan United walked away with all three points.

The Mariners are now back in action in an all-Hero ISL affair against Mumbai City FC on Wednesday.