It was a night of missed chances but Chennaiyin FC would have felt hard done by as they featured in a goalless draw with SC East Bengal in the 2021-22 Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Friday. Chennaiyin now sit on top of the table with 7 points. SC East Bengal, after suffering back-to-back heavy defeats, found some solace with a draw; and are placed 9th with a couple of points.
SC East Bengal made a host of changes after their defeat in the goal-fest against Odisha. Daniel Chima Chukwu and Amarjit Singh Kiyam were handed their first starts.
Suvam Sen, still filling in for the injured Arindam Bhattacharya, kept the Kolkata side in the game early on. Mirlan Murzaev tested him from point blank range initially, before Lallianzuala Chhangte shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Chennaiyin dominated proceedings as Amir Dervisevic almost scored an own goal in the 25th minute. The Slovenian, in an attempt to intercept a low cross from Chhangte deflected it towards his own goal, but luckily brushed the side-netting.While there was a flurry of half-chances, neither side looked promising enough to break the deadlock before the break.
Seasoned campaigners Adil Khan and Raju Gaikwad were brought in after the change of ends. Despite that, SC East Bengal’s defensive frailties were apparent. Suvam was instrumental again with a great fist on Koman’s incoming ball. Chhangte shot the loose ball but his attempt was blocked, five minutes into the second half.
Chennaiyin, who have been clinical this season so far, found their finishing abilities suddenly go missing. Captain Thapa found Jerry with a through ball, but the full back flung a wild shot. Ariel Borysiuk, the Polish international had a shot after Koman and Chhangte’s one-two from a corner kick but the attempt was blocked by Tomislav Mrcela.
The Red and Golds in the final quarter of the match had a few opportunities themselves. Chukwu first released a weak shot on target before Raju, who connected from a Dervisevic corner headed it, only to watch it bounce and nestle into the keeper’s gloves.
SC East Bengal got their final chance with back-to-back corner kicks in the final minute but the night’s trend continued as both were wasted, to the comfort of Chennaiyin FC.