I-League: Mohun Bagan, Chennai play out goalless draw

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Coimbatore, Feb 7 (IANS) Kolkata football giants Mohun Bagan played out a goalless draw against hosts Chennai City in an I-League match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday.

Bagan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty went into the game with just one change to his starting line-up that defeated Shillong Lajong 3-0 on Saturday. Raynier Fernandes replaced Yuto Kinowaki in the midfield while Akram Moghrabi and Asier Dipanda were paired up front. Azharuddin Mallick and Nikhil Kadam offered width from the flanks as Cameron Watson and Raynier Fernandes were slotted into the central midfield.

Soundararajan shuffled his pack around as the new recruits got their chance to prove their mettle. Aleksander Rakic supported under-fire striker Jean Micheal Joachim upfront. Soosairaj played in behind with veteran Asif Kottayil acting as the screen in midfield.

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Mohun Bagan could have opened the scoring as early as the fourth minute if Mallick hadn’t failed to tap the ball in from close-range.

Fernandes’ run into the box was intercepted but the ball fell to Dipanda who left it for Mallick to slot home. However, the winger blasted the ball over the crossbar from only a few yards out.

A timid midfield display followed soon after the early chance, with both sides reluctant to take risks.

Rakic’s free-kick effort around the wall in the 27th minute had Shilton Paul diving to his right to produce a very good save.

Cameron Watson’s weak pass back to Shilton alerted Joachim but the forward, who rounded the keeper well, could only hit the side-netting.

Soon after the restart, Shilton was called into action again as Rakic stepped up and sent his brilliant free-kick effort towards the top right corner of the net.

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Uros Polijanec was injured by a trailing boot of Faiaz inside the box and was replaced by Kabir midway through the second half.

The substitute goalkeeper was called into action when Tarif tripped Dipanda inside the box. Akram’s spot-kick was kept out by Kabir to keep the scoreline intact.

Edwin Vanspaul had to be booked and sent off for dissent in the dying moments of the game but Chennai City held on till the final whistle to share the spoils with the visitors.

–IANS

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