The defending champions secured their first point of the season while the Kolkata outfit struggle to score in the absence of Odafa OkolieChurchill Brothers and Mohun Bagan played out a 0-0 drab draw at the Duler Stadium, Goa, on matchday two of the I-League 2013-14 season. Both teams have yet to register their first full points in the two matches played.
Gabon international Henri Antchouet recovered from an injury and was paired upfront with Syrian striker Ahmad Al Kaddour for the home side.
Karim Bencherifa made a number of changes in the line-up, as he surprisingly dropped C.S. Sabeeth, the goal-scorer in their last game. Ram Malik was handed his I-League debut for the Mariners while Ravinder Singh was also left on the bench. The visitors were without the injured duo of Odafa Okolie and Manish Bhargav.
The game started at a slow pace, with both the teams trying to build up patiently from the midfield. In the fourth minute, Churchill got the first free-kick of the game but Machado’s attempt was comfortably cleared by Zakeer Mundampara.
The first real opening of the game came Bagan’s way but Eric Muranda headed wide a free-kick taken by Denson Devadas in the ninth minute.
Churchill also had their share of opportunities when Al Kaddour set up Machado, but the Portuguese midfielder's shot was deflected for a corner by Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Sandip Nandy.
A flurry of corners happened in the opening twenty minutes of the game, with both the teams making the opponent defense to dwell under pressure, although none of them could capitalize their chances.
In the 24th minute, Katsumi Yusa tried to catch the Churchill goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya out of position, but his curling effort towards the right post went wide.
Not much of action was seen in the first half as both the teams lacked sharpness they needed in the opponent third.
Machado's shot was blocked by Nandy three minutes into the second half before the Churchill player was replaced by Micky Fernandes in the 55th minute.
In the 73rd minute, Bineesh Balan's cross from the right should have been put to bed by Thangjam Singh, but the home side continued to be prolifigate in front of goal.
Sukhwinder Singh had replaced Al Kaddour in the 71st minute, but his replacement in Jaison Valles also failed to impress.
The poor display in in the final third saw the match end in a goalless affair as the defenses were at their best on the evening.
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