If anybody needed any confirmation why Mahindra United and JCT continue to inhabit the lower rungs of the I-League table, Saturday's 15th round encounter between the two former champions provided the requisite proof.
The reputed Mumbai and Punjab outfits dished out mediocre and uninspiring fare which raised yawns in the sparsely populated stadium before the match ended in a predictable result -- a goalless tie. The jeepmen had incidentally won the first leg encounter 1-0.
Mahindras remain in eighth position although they move up to 17 points, the same as the Phagwara millmen, who are one rank below due to an inclement goal difference.
If there was one man however who stood head and shoulders above the aimless drift, then it was Mahindras' Douhou Pierre.
The Ivory Coast man of the match, who played as a withdrawn forward initially and then switched on to a central midfield role after injured K N Ajayan made way for striker Chidi Edeh, schemed and sparkled and did everything to help the 'red devils' open their account. His colleagues were however not equal to the task.
Immediately after resumption, Pierre provided the perfect chip to put Edeh in the clear, but the prodigal Nigerian's shot from inside the box was save by a diving Karanjit Singh at the expense of a corner. Edeh did manage to get the ball into the net in the 58th minute but was flagged for offside.
Striker Sushil Kumar Singh too had some half chances in the first half, the first he headed wide off a Debabrata Roy corner in the 14th minute; from the second opportunity four minutes later he was denied by alert stopper back Guruwinder Singh who together with India international Anwar Ali at the heart of the JCT defence, proved hard nuts to crack.
Derrick Pereira's side enjoyed a distinct edge all through the match but not enough to impose their writ on the proceedings.
On the other hand, Sukhvinder Singh's outfit never looked the part as an attacking unit and seemed like they would be content with a division of points. JCT's inconsistent Brazilian forward Eduardo Escobar had an off day and burly African striker Paul McJames who ambled onto the pitch in the second half too did not make an impact.
With neither side doing anything out of the ordinary for the entire duration of the match, a division of points was quite in order.