A 10-man SC East Bengal (SCEB) frustrated Chennaiyin FC (CFC), holding it to a goalless draw at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Monday.
Despite enjoying a numerical advantage for close to an hour, Chennaiyin failed to get the winner and blew up another opportunity to move into the top four in the Indian Super League (ISL).
This was Chennaiyin’s fifth goalless draw this season — the most by a side.
Csaba Laszlo’s CFC was poor when in possession. And whenever it created chances, SCEB goalkeeper Debjit Majumder thwarted its attempts.
The best opportunity of the opening period fell to Enes Sipovic off a free kick in the 23rd minute. Eli Sabia hooked in a cross to the far post for his centre-back partner Sipovic.
The latter, however, failed to get his header on target from close range.
Just before the water break, East Bengal was down to 10. On-loan midfielder Ajay Chhetri, making his first start of the season, received his second yellow card for a lunging tackle on Rahim Ali.
Laszlo brought on forward Jakub Sylvestr for Anirudh Thapa (who suffered a hamstring injury) at the beginning of the second period to add creativity to the attack.
Ten minutes into the the half, Debjit dived brilliantly to push away Esmael Goncalves’ curler after he was set up by Sylvestr.
East Bengal nearly delivered the killer blow in the 62nd minute, when Anthony Pilkington beat the offside trap, brought down a long ball and had a shot at goal, but was denied by Vishal Kaith.
Chennaiyin piled on attackers in search of the winner, with Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rahim, Sylvestr and Fatkhulo Fatkhulloev all having a shot at goal, but Debjit stood in the way.
The result: Chennaiyin FC 0 drew with SC East Bengal 0.
Tuesday’s match: Hyderabad FC vs Odisha FC, 7.30 p.m.