ISL | BFC finds NEUFC a tough nut to crack

The contest ends goalless; Gyan comes closest but his effort bounces off the bar

Defending champion Bengaluru FC was left to endure a frustrating start to its ISL campaign, following a tame 0-0 draw against NorthEast United FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Monday.

On a rain-soaked evening, it was the away side’s marquee signing Asamoah Gyan who came the closest to breaking the deadlock, when his left-footed curler six minutes into the second period bounced off the bar. But for that, the two goalkeepers had very little to do.

The home side lined up without sure-shot starters in defensive midfielder Erik Paartalu and centre-back Albert Serran, both out due to injuries. There were debuts for Raphael Augusto, Ashique Kuruniyan and Manuel Onwu.

It didn’t take much time for Augusto to get involved, as he drove through the length of the pitch and played a perfectly weighted through ball to Udanta Singh on 26 minutes. But the India international didn’t even hit the target from point-blank range. Minutes later, Sunil Chhetri came close, his fierce hit from inside the six-yard box blocked on the goalline by Dutchman Kai Heerings.

Even as BFC drove forward in hordes, it lacked a reference point, with forward Onwu having a forgettable first outing. On the one occasion when he found himself in space near the goal, he took an unnecessary extra touch and fluffed the opportunity.

Kept quiet

Much then depended on Chhetri and Udanta creating chances from the flanks but they were kept largely quiet by the NorthEast defenders. In the 64th minute, Nishu Kumar drove one powerfully from long range but the visitors’ goalkeeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury was up to the task. Coach Carles Cuadrat’s final roll of the dice was the introduction of creative midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh with 10 minutes left. But there was little he could do to change the course of the game.

The result: Bengaluru FC 0 drew with NorthEast United FC 0.

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