Chennai, Minerva play out 0-0 draw in I-League

Chennai, Jan 8 (IANS) Newcomers Chennai City FC and Minerva Punjab FC played out a goalless draw, enabling both teams to notch their first ever I-League football points here on Sunday.

Chennai decided to line up in a 4-5-1 with Debabrata Roy and Joseph Clemente playing as full-backs while Dharmaraj Ravanan and Aniyeche Echezona were the central defenders at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium. Dhanpal Ganesh, Denson Devadas and Haroon Amiri were deployed in midfield with Brazilian striker Charles De Souza leading upfront.

For Minerva, Ravi Kumar started in goal with Nigerian defender Loveday Okechukwu and Arashpreet Singh in defence. Germanpreet Singh and Vinit Rai were in midfield while captain Manandeep Singh and Joel Sunday assumed the attacking mantle in a 4-4-2 formation.

It was the visitors who started the game on a better note but Chennai fashioned the first real chance of the game in the 5th minute but couldn’t finish it off.

Five minutes later, Chennai’s Lalnun Mawia had a free header at goal but it went straight at Minerva goalkepeer Ravi Kumar.

The match soon settled into a midfield battle but it was Lalnun Mawia who had the best chance of the night in the 34th minute. Dhanpal Ganesh started the move, brilliantly winning a ball in midfield and played Haroon Amiri clear. Though his first cross was blocked, the second one fell to an unmarked Lalnun Mawia but his left-footer went straight to Ravi Kumar.

The change of ends did not seem to have an effect as the home side seemed to be creating more chances.

In an effort to open their account, Channei introduced forward Marcos Tank. The burly Brazilian got into a couple of promising positions towards the end of the game but could not hit the target.

Minerva now face an away match against Aizawl while Chennai will take on defending champions Bengaluru FC in the second round.