East Bengal held to a goalless draw by Chirag

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Kolkata, January 14 (PTI) Table toppers East Bengal wereheld to a goalless draw by a spirited Chirag United in aninth round I-League clash at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan heretoday.

Chirag United could easily have taken a first-halflead but their Brazilian striker Joshimar D Silva missed apenalty.

East Bengal sorely missed the services of their leadinggoal scorer Tolgay Ozbey, who had to sit out of the matchhaving picked a double yellow card in the last encounter.

In absence of the Australian striker, who is second onthe list of leading goalscorers with seven to his pocket,Biswarup Deb found it tough to adjust to the big stage as hepartnered Robin Singh up front, in a new-look East Bengalattack.

True to their style, East Bengal, cheered on by avociferous crowd support, began aggressively but the sting wasmissing up front as they missed as many as three sittersinside the first-half.

Chirag United were equally sloppy with their star strikerJoshimar D''Silva missing a penalty in the 34th minute in whatwas the highlight of the goalless first 45 minutes.

Deb found his first chance in the ninth minute after hecapitalised on a Sanju Pradhan cross from the right flankwith Chirag defence not in place. But the George Telegraphrecruit faltered in the end, while a minute later Singh toomissed an easy sitter as they failed to give East Bengal afirst-half lead.

Their best chance in the first period came in the 13thminute when Pradhan again set it up for Deb with a low crossbut the outcome was no different as East Bengal struggled tobreak the goal jinx. .

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