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EB, United SC settle for goalless draw

January 24, 2009 18:29 IST

East Bengal and United SC squandered chances galore to settle for a goalless draw in their Round 12 encounter of the final leg of the ONGC I-League at Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday.

Playing under their new coach Subhas Bhowmick, East Bengal did not seem to play like a unit as their forward line-up manned by Sunil Chhetri and Yusif Yakubu came out with a mediocre display to see the stalemate prevailing. 

Team India striker, Chhetri, who is leaving for England to appear for trials at the English Championship club Coventry, had his share of chances but the diminuitive forward could not convert any. 

Credit should also be given to the wards of Subrata Bhattacharya who came out winner against a tactical battle with Bhowmick. 

Their two foriegn recruits -- Louis Ebami and Bidemi Danile Ayeni -- displayed solid defence skills thwarting all the efforts from the duo of Sunil-Yakubu. 

The Indian duo of Gautam Debnath and substitute Dulal Biswas too chipped in to block the red-and-gold brigade's strikes. 

Bhattacharya must be rueing for his boys missed chances, particularly that of Shankar, Oraon who frittered aplenty much to his dismay.  

Both the teams showed lacklustre performance in the first 45 minutes, though United SC had a couple of good chances.  

But it seemed luck did not favour their striker Shankar Oraon who was the man-in-charge in absence of their ace forward Subair Muritala Ali who is out due to double-booking.

East Bengal had a solitary chance in the 19th minute when Rennedy Singh's centre could not be capitalised properly by Sunil Chhetri inside the box. Chhetri tried to head the ball home.

Lack of coordination was evident in East Bengal's line-up. Immediately after the break, Syed Rahim Nabi led a solitary attack and surged into the United SC goalmouth. 

But Nabi's cross to his left was not utilised properly by Sunil Chhetri who was not in a position to launch his attack. 

But the second-half brought in a marked change among Subhas Bhowmick boys who looked more menacing to strike at anytime.

Bhowmick brought on experienced campaigner Alvito Da Cunha in the left-half, replacing the off-colour Rennedy Singh after the chageover. 

With most of the action confined to United SC's box, Sunil Chhetri had few good chances, but luck seemed to elude him all the time.

Just after the changeover, Sunil Chhetri's shot hit the crossbar while in the 60th minute his acrobatic effort from Yusif Yakubu was saved by United SC custodian Somnath Khara.

United SC had a brilliant chance in the 75th minute but only to see it missed by Oraon. 

Following the draw, both the teams now have 13 points each in the standings.

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