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 Indian Super League at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Friday.
Chennaiyin climbed to the top of the table with seven points. SC East Bengal after back-to-back heavy defeats found some solace, placed ninth with a couple of points.
SC East Bengal made a host of changes after their defeat in the goalfest against Odisha. Daniel Chima Chukwu and Amarjit Singh Kiyam were handed their first starts.
Suvam Sen, still filling in for the injured Arindam Bhattacharja, kept the Kolkata side in the game early on. First Mirlan Murzaev tested him from point blank range 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 reduced again with a great fist on Koman’s incoming ball. Chhangte shot the loose ball but his attempt was blocked, five minutes in the second half.
Chennaiyin, who have been scarce but clinical this season so far showed glimpses of the old as the finishing abilities suddenly when missing. Captain Thapa had found Jerry on the through as 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 bounce and nestle into the ‘keeper’s gloves.
SC East Bengal got their final chance with back-to-back spot kicks in the final minute but the night’s trend continued as both were wasted to the comfort of Chennaiyin FC.