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I-League: Punjab, Sudeva play out goalless draw

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Kolkata, Jan 29 (IANS) RoundGlass Punjab FC and Sudeva Delhi were unable to break each other down on Friday in the I-League and shared the spoils in a 0-0 draw at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. This is Punjab’s second consecutive goalless draw and both teams are now on five points from as many games.

In a frantic first fifteen minutes of the match that saw end-to-end action, either team could have gone ahead, but complacency in front of goal meant that neither could take the lead. In the third minute, a deflected pass fell to Kean Lewis on the left flank. The midfielder knocked the ball ahead and took a shot from a distance, but Punjab defender Saurabh Bhanwala got in the way.

Three minutes later a quick one-two near the edge of the box put Punjab’s Joseba Beitia through on goal. The Spanish midfielder wanted to find the net from a tight angle but before he could release the shot, a well-timed tackle robbed him as the ball went out for a corner. In the tenth minute, Suranjit Singh went for the spectacular and almost found the net from a distance, as his shot curled wide of the goal.

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Shortly after, Punjab’s Nepalese goalkeeper Kiran Limbu almost gifted a goal when he lost possession inside the box, but made amends after latching onto Lewis’s cross for Shaiborlang Kharpan in the box.

Sudeva sat back and played on the counter while Punjab FC dominated possession. Even long balls behind the defence to Chencho Gleytshen could not reap dividends for the Punjab side. A free-kick right before the end of the first half for Sudeva Delhi FC saw Shaiborlang Kharpan’s header saved by Kiran Limbu. The half-time scoreline read 0-0.

A charged-up Sudeva came out in the second half and in the 53rd minute forward Kharpan tested Limbu with a well-placed shot from outside of the box that went inches over the bar. Three minutes later, Aphaoba Singh was found on the right flank by a through ball from Beitia. Singh, instead of crossing it in, went for a shot from a tight angle and forced Limbu to make a crucial save.

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Chencho tried to breach the Sudeva citadel in the 69th minute when a long ball found him in the right flank. The Bhutanese forward released a curling effort from a tight angle that flashed in front of the goal before going back into play.

Despite the efforts of both teams, neither could create a clear goal scoring chance and half chances were cancelled easily by the other’s defence. The best chance of the match came in the 72nd minute when Mahesh Singh found Naocha Singh inside the box with a through ball. The latter with only the goalkeeper to beat, hit his shot over the bar.

–IANS

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