In the goalless affair in Sikkim, the former India skipper picked up two yellow cards in the span of six minutes...United Sikkim FC were held to a 0-0 draw by Pailan Arrows in the fourth round of the I-League played at the Paljor Stadium, Sikkim, on Sunday.
Philippe De Ridder started with Bhaichung Bhutia on the bench with Nurudeen Salau leading the line up front.
On the other side, Arthur Papas continued with his strike duo of Alwyn George and Holicharan Nazary with Milan Singh providing the ammunition from the middle of the park.
The away side could have taken a lead in the opening minutes when Alwyn George completely missed Holicharan Narzary's cross as the ball went across the face of goal. Rajinder Singh's eventual toe-poke was driven straight into the hands of United Sikkim keeper Yoon Tae.
Pailan Arrows survived their first scare when Rahul Jaiswal's header off Michael Rodríguez' cross was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Soram Angamba in the 12th minute.
Thereafter Narzary was guilty of putting down a golden opportunity as the Arrows striker fired a left footer above the bar from about six yards out.
It was the home side who got on the offensive in the following exchanges as Anwar Ali rallied a shot wide in the 25th minute, while Nigerian striker Nurudeen Salau came closest to breaking the deadlock with his pile driver which hit the side netting in the 33rd minute.
In the second half, the first opportunity befell the away wise in the 61st minute when Rajinder Kumar's header from a Narzary cross went straight into the hands of United Sikkim's substitute goalkeeper Monotosh Ghosh.
Salau could have scored and given his side the lead but he couldn't control his header off a Munmun Lugun cross in the 65th minute which failed to trouble the opposition goalkeeper.
With about 30 minutes left in the match, the home side's co-owner Bhaichung Bhutia replaced Rahul Jaiswal, but was greeted with a yellow card soon after his introduction.
Thereafter in the 84th minute, Bhutia was sent off for a foolish handball in an attempt to force Pailan Arrows goalkeeper Angamba to drop the ball.
Meanwhile Narzary could have scored the winner in the 81st minute as his free-kick was saved by Ghosh, who had to dive low to his left to keep a clean sheet in the match.
Eventually with a glaring amount of missed chances, Pailan Arrows maintain their unbeaten run in all competitions this season while claiming eight points from four matches. On the other hand, United Sikkim have gathered a mere four points so far.
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