Bagan were left to rue their missed chances as they played out an entertaining, but ultimately goalless draw against ONGC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi, in the fifth round of the I-League today. The result left ONGC winless even after 5 games, while the Mariners made it 7 out of 15 points so far.
ONGC, who have shown promise in their previous games, started brightly. Despite having played a local league match the previous day, Subrata Bhattacharya's men were the much better side in the opening 15 minutes. Their Japanese midfielder, Yusa Katsumi - a standout player for ONGC thus far this campaign - was central to most of their good work.
Bagan's slow defence couldn't handle his speed, and with Jatin Bisht distributing the ball from deep, they were not allowed much respite. The danger signs were there for the Mariners from the start, with Yusa's free kick hitting the wall and a piledriver from Bisht just missed the post.
The Kolkatan outfit then started to get back into the game, with Odafa at the centre of it. He first oschestrated a pass to Jewel Raja, whose shot from outside the box was just about gathered by the keeper. Few minutes later, his free kick was just the wrong side of the post.
From there on, both teams were creating chances with ONGC keeper Prosenjit Ghosh saving Devdas' header. Towards the end of the half, Nabi worked himself into a good crossing position on the right, but Odafa failed to connect properly with the ball floated in, heading it wide.
The second half started well for Bagan, with ONGC unable to match their tempo. On the 51 minute, Odafa made a solo run, skipping past two defenders to unleash a shot. But Prosenjit managed to palm it away for a corner. The resulting corner saw the ball almost cross the line, but the referee had already called a foul against Bagan.
ONGC on the otherhand were content with hitting the Mariners on the break. The Kolkatan outfit were lucky after one such counter, which saw S Mollick's direct his header on target, but unfortunately for him, his team-mate Kailash Patil was in the way. Patil then almost won it for ONGC, but his header was straight at Bagan shot-stopper Shilton Paul.
With this result, ONGC are now at the bottom of the table, a point adrift of safety, while Bagan's tally of 7 points sees them tied on points with Prayag and Shillong Lajong.
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