SC East Bengal showed the right measure of grit and determination to hold defending champion Mumbai City FC to a goalless draw in a 10th round match of the Indian Super League at Tilak Maidan Stadium on Friday. East Bengal continued to remain winless and stayed at the bottom of the table with six points from 10 matches but showed the right attitude and purpose that was missing in its performance so far. Mumbai City FC regained the top spot with 17 points but continued to remain winless four the fourth successive occasion.
East Bengal put up a good defensive plan that denied Mumbai City a clear look at the goal for a big portion of the action. Striker Igor Angulo managed a header in the ninth minute off a D. Vignesh cross but the seasoned striker could not generate enough power to beat Arindam Bhattacharya manning the East Bengal goal. Mumbai’s attacks on most occasions fell flat in the East Bengal box where India team defender Adil Khan led by example to inspire his back-line colleagues to put up a coordinated show. Mumbai City was denied a genuine call of penalty in the 23rd minute when East Bengal winger Bikash Jairu clearly handled the ball inside own box while trying to thwart a cross from Mumbai midfielder Raynier Fernandes.
Barring this, East Bengal put up a good advertisement for Indian players by fielding just one foreigner (in Nigerian forward Chima Chukwu) and dished out a commendable performance. Former India captain and the interim East Bengal coach, Renedy Singh, seems to have infused the requisite confidence in the same set of players who were found lacking in their purpose in the first eight matches. Mumbai City FC’s English gaffer Des Bunckingham discovered to his frustration how a team lying at the bottom of the table could fire up such an inspired show with indigenous talents.
The result: SC East Bengal 0 drew with Mumbai City FC 0.
Saturday’s matches: ATK Mohun Bagan vs Odisha FC, 7.30 p.m.; FC Goa vs Chennaiyin FC, 9.30 p.m.
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