ANI Photo | ISL: East Bengal, Punjab FC share points in goalless draw in Kolkata

East Bengal FC held Punjab FC to a goalless draw at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Saturday.
It was a back-and-forth contest right from the beginning, with the Kolkata-based side and Punjab FC taking formidable shots at goal in the opening 15 minutes.
East Bengal’s Naorem Mahesh Singh was a constant presence in and around the Punjab FC backline, playing quick one-twos, trying to take on the defenders, and earning fouls with his close control over the ball.
Saul Crespo had spearheaded the midfield forward and attempted to finish a well-constructed move from outside of the box in the seventh minute, only for the shot to lack enough power behind it eventually.
Cleiton Silva was handed a fine chance by Mahesh soon afterwards, but the Brazilian’s right-footed shot was blocked as Punjab FC regathered their defensive line.
Mahesh intermittently shifted flanks, with his tearaway pace earning his side set pieces on both wings. However, nearly all of those opportunities didn’t materialise, creating any clear-cut chances.
From open play, East Bengal FC tried to break through the Punjab FC backline, but their cohesion didn’t come together as the end of the first half saw the visitors holding the upper hand in the flow of play.
Krishnananda Singh and Tekcham Singh interlinked inside the East Bengal FC box, with the former shooting from close range for the effort to be saved by Prabsukhan Singh Gill in the 40th minute.
In the 60th minute, Krishnananda encountered another opportunity to draw the first blood, this time courtesy of a cross by Juan Mera. That was preceded by Punjab FC putting pressure back on East Bengal FC, with Ashish Pradhan and Nikhil Prabhu trying their luck from outside the 18-yard box.
Carles Cuadrat tried his substitutions after he brought in Jose Antonio Pardo and Vishnu Puthiya to discover newer, more creative ways of getting past the Punjab FC backline.
Puthiya and Hijazi Maher got inside the box, against the momentum of the game, for Puthiya to take his shot at goal, but that move didn’t crack the code either. All of this was accompanied by Silva putting in a rather arduous effort, constantly getting into goal-scoring positions but to no avail.
East Bengal’s Hijazi was named the player of the match in the Red and Golds’ goalless draw.

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