Bengaluru, December 7: Juan Mera saved the formidable Quess East Bengal (QEB) the blushes as his late goal helped the Kolkata giants earn a share of the spoils against Punjab FC, who earned their first point of the I League 2019-20 season at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana.
The hosts took the lead, after Danilo Augusto headed in from Sanju Pradhan's free-kick, completely catching the QEB defence off guard.
The equaliser did arrive in the 84th minute, when Mera took a seemingly speculative attempt on goal from outside the box and the Spaniard was rewarded as his effort found the back of the net.
Augusto was later adjudged the Hero of the Match.
Punjab had succumbed to a 0-3 defeat to Churchill Brothers FC Goa in their opening match of the season, which prompted head coach Yan Law to make a host of changes. Kiran Kumar Limbu started in goal ahead of Bhaskar Roy.
Samuel Shadap slotted into the backline in place of the suspended Anwar Ali. Punjab captain Pradhan retained his place in the line-up with Bali Gagandeep getting the nod upfront, starting with Aser Dipanda Dicka.
QEB coach Alejandro Menendez Garcia named a largely unchanged line-up from his side that drew 1-1 at home against Real Kashmir FC, with the only change being Samad Ali Mallick starting in place of Kamalpreet Singh in defence.
(With inputs from Hero I League Media)