Mumbai, Nov 19 (UNI) Mahindra United forwards let the team down in the second half as the home team was denied three points, after a 0-0 draw with table toppers Sporting Clube de Goa in the ninth round of the I-League, played at the Cooperage here today.
Mahindra United won the early skirmishes as they looked to pile on the pressure and get an early goal. The first chance saw Steven Dias release Sushil Kumar in acres of space with the latter passing it back to the former whose final shot was blocked by the Sporting defenders.
From then on, the Sporting midfield duo of Bibiano Fernandes and Harmanjot Khabra took control of the proceedings, with their first chance coming in the 27th minute when Nathaniel Amos' sent in a through ball for Junior whose shot enforced a save from Mahindra custodian Subashish Chowdhury.
Then in the 30th minute, Sporting had another chance when Bibiano released Rovan Pereira on the left but the winger shot it over.
Two minutes from the break, Remus Gomes sent a cross from the right was met with a low diving header of Junior which went inches wide of the target.
Nathaniel Amos did some good work near the line and pulled it back for Junior whose shot went straight to goalkeeper Subashish Chowdhury.
The second session started even but the first chance of the half went to the visitors as Bibiano's right footer found the Mahindra custodian after receiving a cross from Nathaniel Amos.
Mahindra then piled on the pressure as N P Pradeep's fine run on the left was cut short by Felip Gomes for a corner. Debabrata's left footer from 25 yards couldn't trouble Sporting custodian Felix D'Souza.
At this point, Mahindra United went all out and put Sporting on the back foot. Pradeep's header off a Steven flag-kick was once again saved by the alert Felix D'Souza.
After Pradeep and Chidi were substituted, Douho was active on the left flank. In another such move, goalkeeper Felix D'Souza came off his line to close the Mahindra medio but missed him completely.
Douhous Pieree held his composure and his shot was stopped by Felip Gomes using his hand. The ball fell back to Douhous and his final shot was saved by Felix D'Souza who by then had got back to position. Mahindra United appealed for handball but it fell on the deaf ears of referee A Arjunan.
Three minutes from the final whistle, Sushil's cross saw Douhous being in a one-on-one position with Felix D'Souza but his shot didn't find the target. Mahindra United players couldn't believe their luck and had themselves to blame for missing the sitter.
Sporting with their first draw of this season continue to lead at the top of the table.
UNI GS ZA AB RK2010