ISL: Chennaiyin FC allow SC East Bengal to escape with a draw

ISL: Chennaiyin FC allow SC East Bengal to escape with a draw
© Provided by The Times of India

Chennaiyin FC players seemed to have left their scoring boots at home when they turned up for the ISL game against SC East Bengal on Friday.

The Bozidar Bandovic-coached side created numerous opportunities but failed to make use of those. East Bengal, too, failed to convert their chances and the match ended goalless at the Tilak Maidan in Goa on Friday.

To East Bengal’s credit, though, they defended resolutely to weather Chennaiyin’s relentless pressure. East Bengal were coming into the match on the back of conceding 10 goals in their last three matches, five of which came from set-pieces. But their defence looked way more organized. They got bodies behind the ball on most of the occasions which helped thwart Chennayin’s numerous attempts on goal. When East Bengal defence failed to spot a run or block a shot of the opposition, their goalkeeper Suvam Sen was up to the task, thereby earning the red and gold brigade’s first clean sheet of the season.

While East Bengal defence played its part, the midfielders had an average game as they kept losing possession cheaply. It meant that the chances were far and few in between and their own defence, too, was under constant pressure. And CFC were relentless when they had the ball.

Anirudh Thapa, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Mirlan Murzaev, Rahim Ali moved the ball well between themselves and stretched the play using the width of the ground, keeping the East Bengal defence on their toes. But they were unable to put the finishing touches and had to be content with one point from a game which they should have won.

While Suvam came off his line twice to foil Ali and Thapa’s attempts when both were through on goal, the marauding runs of Chhangte, who looked the most dangerous of the CFC forwards, on the left flank proved to be futile eventually because of Mahesh Naorem and Hira Mondal’s tight marking.

CFC were also quite hasty in taking their shots. There were three occasions when Suvam fumbled and spilled the ball but Lukasz Gikiewicz and Ali failed to make East Bengal pay.

While CFC were guilty of inaccurate shooting, East Bengal, on the other hand, never got a shot on target in the first half. But they perhaps got the best chance of the match from a set-piece in the 74th minute. Amir Derisevic floated in a free-kick from the left and Raju Gaikwad left his marker and had a free header from the top of the six-yard box. But he couldn’t connect it properly and the ball went above the cross-piece after bouncing in front of keeper Vishal Kaith.

CFC could have had the last laugh when Thapa made a sparkling run into the box from the left in the 90th minute before cutting it back towards Gikiewicz but Bikash Jairu made an effective block. The ball landed at the feet of Jobby Justin but he ended up hitting his own teammate Chhangte and CFC were left ruing their missed chances once more.

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