Mumbai, Apr 19 (UNI) Air-India and JCT Mills played a tedious goalless draw in their 14th round NFL encounter at the Cooperage stadium here today.
The draw, however, helped the Phagwara side move up to sixth spot and the locals to seventh at the expense of Mohammedan Sporting who slid down to eighth due to inferior goal difference. All three sides have 14 points.
Goalkeeper Kalyan Chaubey helped the visitors keep a clean slate when he made two superb saves to deny Suley Musah from successive flag kicks late in the second half. He also kept out another header by Paresh Shivalkar from another corner. The defence-dominated encounter saw creativity at a discount and chances hard to come by except from the set pieces and that too only in the second half.
JCT Mills did not have the guile to prise open the Air-India defence in which Musah, who was yellow-carded, policed JCT spearhead Johnson Banner very effectively.
Air India too were content to stay back and the lack of numbers upfront took the teeth out of their attack. Still, they created two openings in the first half and their wily striker Bashiru Abbas was denied when his flick from close in was deflected for a corner.
JCT Mills just had two shies at the Air India goal in the second half when a Marcos Pereira shot was parried by custodian Raju Ekka.
JCT stopper back Julius Akpele could have sealed the issue with one minute remaining but his free header from a Pereira corner flew over the bar.
UNI GS MAZ AY KN2020