The two sides failed to make the most of the chances that came their way...
United Sports Club and Mohun Bagan played out a goal-less encounter at the Kalyani Stadium, Kolkata in round 25 of the I-League. The Purple brigade have 23 points with another two matches to go while Karim Bencherifa's outfit have 25 points to their name.
Subrata Bhattacharya made as many as four changes from the last match as he brought in Anupam Sarkar, Souvik Chakraborty, Sangram Mukherjee and Kottayil Asif into the line-up.
For Mohun Bagan, Shouvik Ghosh was given the nod with Rowilson Rodrigues on the bench.
It was Bagan who started better and had the first chance to score in the second minute. Katsumi Yusa finds Odafa Okolie who sends in a chipped pass for Christopher Chizoba but Mukherjee came off his line to avert the danger.
However Bagan survived a double scare in the 10th minute. Deepak Mandal’s cross saw Mohammed Rafique ‘s header being parried away by Shilton Paul. However Biswajit Biswas picked up the pieces and his shot was just about blocked by Pritam Kotal in time to deny him a goal.
Play was restricted to midfield with neither side being able to dictate the proceedings. Towards the closing stages of the first half, Chizoba went on a marauding run and managed to find his way into the six-yard box only to lose the ball eventually.
In the 45th minute, Eric Brown played a ‘rabona’ pass for Waheed Adekunle whose tame header saw Paul mess it up and it was an alter Echezona Anyichie who cleared it off the goal-line to keep the scoreline 0-0.
The two coaches made changes at the start of the second half hoping to win full points from the tie. And the two substitutes, Ujjal Howladar for Bagan and United SC’s Baldeep Singh had an instant impact.
Howladar tested Mukherjee between the sticks after Ghosh did well to send in a cross in the 52nd minute.
Two minutes later, Baldeep’s header from inside the box came off the horizontal, much to the disappointment of United SC fans.
Asif made a mockery of himself as he played a dummy and allowed the Bagan defense to clear when he had the entire breadth of the net to shoot at. This was Brown dibbled past Anyichie and Kingshuk Debnath to lay it for Asif.
Referee T.Nagvenkar refused to pay attention to Bagan’s appeal for a penalty when Dhanachandra Singh appeared to have handled the ball inside the box from a Howladar cross in the 88th minute.
In the third minute of the injury time, Baldeep shot the ball into the orbit from inside the box despite being under no pressure whatsoever.