Spirited SC East Bengal Hold off Table-toppers Chennaiyan FC

Vasco, December 3: SC East Bengal and Chennaiyan FC played out a 0-0 draw in their Indian Super League fixture at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Friday.

SCEB went into the match on the back of two successive losses, while CFC had the chance to gain three points, putting them clearly at the top of the ISL table. Though both teams had a fair few chances, neither was able to capitalize on their momentum, as both goalkeepers strove to keep the other team’s attacking line-up at bay.

Chennaiyan FC dominated most of the attack in the opening minutes, keeping custodian Suvam Sen busy under the bar. At the stroke of 10 minutes, Suvam pulled off a double-save to keep SCEB in the game.

As the match progressed, SCEB grew more confident, with the midfield seeing more of the ball. The Red-and-Gold brigade earned three successive corners around the half-hour mark, but failed to convert them into goals.

The best chance of the first half fell to CFC, when Rahim Ali’s shot from close quarters was saved by a diving Suvam Sen.

SCEB coach Jose Manuel Diaz talked about the need to be more focused while defending set-pieces in the pre-match press conference, and SCEB stuck right to the boss’ word as they defended the dead-ball situations well, providing no room for the attackers to wriggle through.

The second half saw the introduction of Adil Khan and Raju Gaikwad right at the start, bolstering the defence. Antonio Perosevic, who was benched today, came on at the one-hour mark in place of Darren Sidoel. The Croatian showed off some of his trademarked twists and turns, but also failed to break the deadlock.

SCEB’s best chance fell to substitute Raju Gaikwad. Dervisevic’s curling free kick found the head of an unmarked Raju with the whole goal to aim at, but the long-throw specialist nodded the ball into the ground and bounced it over the goal.

Both teams will feel they missed out on the three points, but SCEB will be the happier of the two going into the dressing room, finally having kept a clean-sheet and the bagging of the Hero of the Match award by Hira Mondal, thanks to his stellar performance at left-back.

SCEB move up to ninth in the league with 2 points from 4 matches, while a point ensured Chennaiyan FC sit atop the league with 7 points from 3 matches.

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