Mohun Bagan held to goalless draw by Mumbai FC
Mumbai, Feb 15 (IANS) Mohun Bagan threw away a chance to close the gap on arch-rivals East Bengal at the top of the I-League table as they played out their second consecutive goalless draw against Mumbai FC at the Cooperage Stadium here on Wednesday.
East Bengal dropped two points earlier in the day against Shillong Lajong FC paving the way for second-placed Bagan to trim the gap to one point if they won on the night.
But with the draw, the opportunity went up in smoke as the green and maroon brigade could only muster one point leaving them on 18 points from eight matches, three points adrift of their eternal foes.
Mumbai moved off the foot of the heap with seven points from nine outings.
Bagan gave Sony Norde a start despite the Haitian forward complaining of a niggling knee injury.
In the 19th minute, the hosts thought they had taken the lead when Thoi Singh netted a stunner but the goal was denied by the referee.
In the 32nd minute, Mumbai forward Farukh Choudhary tried his luck from close but his attempt came off the post.
It was goalless at the end of the first period leaving Mumbai high and dry. Santosh Kashyap’s wards created a flurry of chances inside the box but failed to convert any of them.
Darryl Duffy and Azharuddin Mallick played well for Mohun Bagan.
In the second half, Mumbai started from where they had left with new Brazilian recruit Alex Willian coming close in the 50th minute from a free kick.
At the other end, Norde missed a sitter from just outside the box, skying his effort.
Desperate to get three points, Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen threw in Jeje Lalpekhlua in place of Shouvik Chakraborty.
Bagan defender Anas Edathodika injured himself in a collision with an opponent where he landed dangerously on his head and was taken off for treatment.
In the last 10 minutes, Mohun Bagan stars Yusa Katsumi and Norde tried hard to conjure up chances inside the penalty box but to no avail.