Bello Rasaq provided a dramatic finish to a pulsating season on a rainy night on Sunday when his late equaliser helped Mohun Bagan hold Bengaluru FC to a 1-1 draw and bring the Hero I-League trophy for the first time to Kolkata after a painful 13-year wait.
The Nigerian defender showed great tenacity and composure to leap above his Bengaluru markers and head in Sony Norde’s corner in the 86th minute at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium to send the 2,000-odd Bagan supporters and the millions back home into delirium and halt the Blues’ dreams of clinching a historic double.
The green-and-maroon brigade, who just needed a draw to clinch their maiden I-League title, now finish the season on top of the table with 39 points while defending champions Bengaluru end second with 37. Until the 86th minute, however, Bengaluru were coasting to their second straight I-League title. Mercurial defender John Johnson kept his best for the last – the ‘Headmaster’ scoring his first goal of the season with a stinging header off a trademark Eugeneson Lyngdoh corner set-piece in the 41st minute.