Margao, Mar 22: Salgaocar Sports Club came from behind twice to hold Uzbekistani football outfit Neftchi to a 2-2 draw and shared points in the Group “D” match of the AFC Cup 2012 at Nehru Stadium here last evening.
The visitors, who had long spell of ball possession in the first half, broke the deadlock in the 25th minute through Isroilov Otabek, who headed home a cross from the right by Aybek Nurbaev following a free-kick.
Salgaocar, who relied more on counter moves, came close to finding the equaliser twice, but Rocus Lamare's 30-yard shot and later Ryuji Sueoka's effort was nullified by rival keeper Turdaliev Farruh.
The Goan outfit found the equaliser two minutes in the added time of injury time in the first half when a swift move between Ryuji Sueoka and Chidi saw the former finding the net to have both teams tied 1-1 at half time.
The visitors again took the lead when Alijonov Aziz's 25-yard shot found the corner of the net in the 59th minute.
Salgaocar hit back soon when substitute Gilbert Oliveira found the equaliser in the 83rd minute when he fired home a 30-yard long ranger off a pass from another substitute Randeep Singh.
Neftchi, who beat Al Wehdat of Jordan in their opening encounter, now have four points from two outings.
Salgaocar opened their account with one point from today's draw. They had lost their opening match against Al Arouba of Oman.
Neftchi coach Yuriy Sarkisyan expressed disappointment over the drawn match.
“We played well and had more of the ball possession but failed to convert the chances that came our way. The long journey and the climate over here took a heavy toll on our team as the players were tired.”
“It was an important match which we wanted to win. But we failed to maintain the lead and allowed Salgaocar to score the equaliser twice,” he said.
Salgaocar's coach Karim Bencherifa said this is the first time his team is playing in the AFC Cup and he was pleased with his boys performance against last year's semi-finalist.
“They stuck to the strategy and cut off the opponent moves well, especially in the last quarter of the match which saw us finding the equaliser,” he said.