Mohun Bagan and Churchill Bothers settle for goalless draw

Kolkata, Feb 26 (PTI) Runners up Churchill Brothers andformer title holders Mohun Bagan settled for a goalless drawin their 16th round I-league soccer match at the Yuba BharatiKrirangan here today.

Six of their regulars out due to injury and cards, MohunBagan put up a spirited display especially during the secondhalf and could have romped home victorious but for their frontliners who failed to cash in on the chances they got.

Churchill and Bagan both stayed put at the same thirdand sixth position in the league table with 30 and 22 pointsrespectively after completing 16 outings.

Shubhas Bhowmick, the technical director of the home sidewould not be disappointed with this result as he had indicatedthat a draw would be acceptable during the pre-match briefing.

Bagan, who lost to Churchill 0-2 in the first leg of theleague, started cautiously concentrating more on defence asthe match began. Churchill made their first attack in thethird minute but Bagan keeper Shilton Paul foiled a StevenDias attempt to forge ahead.

Bagan defence today played well to keep their fort intact. Sagram Mandi, who played as a defensive screen excelledand kept strict vigil on Odafa Okolie -- the deadly Churchillstriker who took the field in the second half but failed tocause any damage.

Bagan also changed their strategy and went into attack asthe match progressed. They came close to scoring in the 38thminute. But striker Muritaala Ali failed to head a Snehasishcross from the left in the 38th minute.

The second half saw the green and maroon brigadedominating the proceedings all through. With their mediosSnehasish Chakrabarty and Jayan Sen combining well, Baganproduced a series of raids, though without success.

Bagan striker Muritala Ali wasted the easiest opportunityof the day when four minutes after the second half, he dodgedpast a host of Churchill defenders, including custodian LalitThapa, only to shoot feebly into the empty goal which gaveenough time to Churchill defender Goaurmangi Singh to make agoal-line save.

Churchill, who mostly defended their fort in the secondhalf, earned a good opportunity in the 66th minute but Odafashot out from inside the box .

Five minutes before the long whistle the home team cameclose to scoring again. But a stingy shot by Muritala offChidi was smartly saved by Churchill keeper Lalit Thapa whodived full length to his right to keep their fort in tact. PTICOR RG PM

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