Panaji (Goa) [India], January 7 (ANI): SC East Bengal held reigning champions Mumbai City FC to a 0-0 draw in the 2021-22 Indian Super League match at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Friday.
The result allowed the Islanders to reclaim first place in the points table. However, their winless streak extends to four matches while SCEB is now 10 games without a win.
Igor Angulo was the first to test the goalkeeper as his header was comfortably saved by Arindam Bhattacharja. Daniel Chima Chukwu was next to threaten the goal on the other end but his attempt from close-range went narrowly past the right side of the goal. SCEB were dealt an early blow due to injury to Joyner Lourenco who needed to be replaced by Ankit Mukherjee.
Both teams struggled to create major scoring chances in the first half. The Islanders dominated the possession but found it tough to find spaces behind SCEB’s backline. Due to the resilient defending from the Red & Golds, both teams went into the halftime break on level terms.
Mohammad Rafique was sent in the second half as a replacement to Bikash Jairu. A few minutes post the restart, strong calls for a penalty from MCFC players were denied by the referee as Adil Khaan allegedly fouled Cassio Gabriel inside the box. The Brazilian then blasted a long-range drive which was expertly parried away by Bhattacharja. The frustration could be seen amongst the MCFC ranks as Ahmed Jahouh came close with a long-range strike at the hour mark.
Vinit Rai made his MCFC debut as Des Buckingham sent him alongside Ygor Catatau to inject more energy on the pitch. Amarjit Singh Kiyam also picked up an injury and was replaced by Darren Sidoel with 15 minutes left to play. Jahouh was the first player to get booked who picked up a fourth yellow card of the season and will be suspended for the next game.
The final stages of the match saw more determined defending from SCEB as they frustrated the Islanders who could not create meaningful scoring chances. The fourth official announced five minutes to be added for stoppages and the Islanders threw everything in their locker but could not find the goal they were looking for. In the end, both teams had to settle for a point each following a goalless draw.
Mumbai City FC is up against Bengaluru FC in their next at the PJN Stadium on Monday whereas SC East Bengal will clash with high-flying Jamshedpur FC at the Athletic Stadium on Tuesday. (ANI)