Imphal based TRAU and Indian Arrows played a goalless draw in the inaugural match of the I-League 2021 at the Mohun Bagan Ground in Kolkata, West Bengal on December 26. Despite both the teams getting plenty of shots on target, they shared points after the conclusion of the game as the match ended in 0-0 draw.
Indian Arrows, started with a 4-4-2 set-up with skipper Parthib Gogoi leading the attacking troops. TRAU, who had finished in the third position last year, started with a 4-3-3 attacking set-up with Krishnananda Singh and Joseph Olaleye in the front line.
TRAU went for an attack as soon as the whistle blew as Joseph Olaleye moved to Indian Arrows half from the right flank. But his low cross inside the box was picked up by goalkeeper Ahan Prakash. In the 6th minute of the match, a run from Parthib Gogoi against the run of play stunned TRAU’s defensive forces. Gogoi managed to get a shot from a close distance, but goalkeeper Amrit Gope made a clean save.
The team from Imphal fell slightly behind Indian Arrows in terms of possession as the game settled down in the first half. But the AIFF developmental team could not convert the possession into goal-scoring opportunities. In the 18th minute, midfielder Vibin Mohanan’s free-kick from near the touchline went above the goalpost.
Two minutes later, Mohammad Fayazuddin Shah’s run from the left created a moment of panic in Indian Arrows’ half. But Kishan Singh, who sprinted quickly to collect the cross from Fayazuddin also hit the ball above the goal post.
In the 28th minute, TRAU had the best chance of the first half, as Naresh Singh sent a cross from the right and it fell for Akobir Turaev. But his header towards the goal was deflected away by Sajad Hussain Parray on the goalline and Indian Arrows breathed a sigh of relief.
Indian Arrows defended well for the next 10 minutes and calmed down the match. They almost found the opening goal in the match in the 43rd minute after a defensive error from Amrit Gope lead to Taison Singh pouncing on the ball. But Gope could not make the most of the opportunity as TRAU captain Helder Lobato stood big and tall and made the save, and the scoreline remained 0-0 at halftime.
TRAU started the second half with high intensity as Turaev created an opportunity for Kishan Singh to hit the ball towards the goal. But his powerful shot was saved by Indian Arrows’ defence line.
Indian Arrows goalkeeper Ahan made a brave save in the 59th minute after Turaev’s right-footed shot on the turn almost gave TRAU the lead. Both the teams brought fresh legs to the pitch in the next 10 minutes as the match started heading to crunch time.
Turaev continued to make threatening penetrations inside the box, but he was caught offside in the 77th minute, just when it looked like he might open the scoring. In the 82nd minute, Turaev released Olaleye, but the Nigerian could not collect the ball and it was deflected away by defender Sajad Parray.
In the 89th minute, Sajad Parray’s challenge on TRAU player earned him his second yellow card of the match, and he was sent off, leaving Indian Arrows one man behind. But they defended well in the injury time and continued to keep the possession.
Harsh Patre suffered an injury and limped out of the ground with a minute to go in the match, leaving Arrows with nine men. But Indian Arrows fought valiantly till the final whistle and the match ended in a 0-0 draw.
TRAU will next face Sreenidhi Deccan FC on December 30, 2021 at 2 pm, meanwhile Indian Arrows will face Sudeva Delhi FC on December 31 at 2 pm.