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Wasteful Chennaiyin held to goalless draw by Bengaluru

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Margao (Goa), Feb 5 (IANS) Chennaiyin FC were left to rue missed chances as Bengaluru FC held (BFC) them to a goalless draw in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Friday. Chennaiyin dominated possession and took as many as 11 shots at the goal as their misfiring attack failed to beat Bengaluru goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

Bengaluru interim coach Naushad Moosa rang in two changes to the team that beat SC East Bengal in the previous match as Erik Paartalu and Parag Srivas were given starts. Manuel Lanzarote was handed his debut for Chennaiyin while Anirudh Thapa and Enes Sipovic returned.

Chennaiyin dominated possession and forced Sandhu into making a number of saves during the first half at the Fatorda Stadium.

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Their first chance of the game came when Esmael Goncalves made his way into the Bengaluru area, but his shot was saved by a diving Sandhu. Rahim Ali got the rebound, but his tame shot was easily stopped by the India goalkeeper.

Moments later, Thapa swirled in a cross into the box, which was met by Lallianzuala Chhangte, but the header found Sandhu.

Chennaiyin’s defence was a tough to crack open as Eli Sabia and Vishal Kaith came with crucial interceptions and blocks to deny Sunil Chhetri and Paartalu.

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Chennaiyin were denied with an opening goal just before the breather. Chhangte raced down the far side and set Lanzarote through.

The Spaniard got into the box and played a lofted pass to Goncalves but Gurpreet anticipated danger and charged ahead to get the crucial touch, to deflect the ball off Goncalves for a goal kick. This was arguably the best chance of the game.

In the second half, Chennaiyin continued their hunt for the goal. Lanzarote nearly scored from a set-piece but Sandhu managed to get a fingertip save onto the crossbar.

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Bengaluru managed to get the ball in the back of the net, but their celebrations were cut short when the referee disallowed the goal. Xisco Hernandez picked Francisco Gonzalez at the back post, and he headed the ball into the back of the net. But the assistant referee had already raised the flag.

The BFC post had more action with Gurpreet exerting yet again. The India international pulled off another diving save to deny Chhangte late in the game.

Chennaiyin nearly took the lead when Memo Moura’s 30-yard free-kick and it was the woodwork that came to Bengaluru’s rescue.

–IANS

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