Mohun Bagan failed to get past ONGC and had to settle for a goalless draw in a fifth round I-League match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi.
Both teams had their chances in the match but failed to convert any. The result took Mohun Bagan to seven points from five matches while ONGC move to 2 points from five matches.
ONGC, who won the All India Public Sector Football Tournament on Thursday and were playing their second match in consecutive days, begun in style. They were the better team in the first fifteen minutes.
They pushed the Kolkata outfit into their own half with Japanese recruit Yusa Katsumi and Jatin Bisht patrolling the midfield. Yusa with his sudden burst of speed and Jatin with his distribution spelt danger for Bagan.
A Yusa direct freekick from just outside the box which eventually hit the wall and a Jatin long-ranger which missed by a whisker could have spelt trouble for Bagan.
Bagan's first real chance came in the 31st minute when Oadafa's free-kick from the corner of the box narrowly missed the mark. Thereafter, Bagan slowly regrouped and came close to closing on two occasions - first a Denson Devdas header went straight to rival custodian Prosenjit Ghosh and then Odafa failed to head in Syed Rahim Nabi's cross from the right.
Changing over, Bagan further stepped up the momentum and it almost paid dividends. In the 51st minute, Odafa went past a horde of defenders but a diving Prosenjit palmed his effort.
The very next minute, Nabi, all in the clear failed to head in Snehasish Chakraborty centre. An advancing Ghosh also denied Nabi 66th minute.
Off the counter, Bagan survived a scare when S Mollick's diving header, addressed to the net found teammate Kailash Patil in the way.
In the 71st minute, Kailash Patil had the best chance to put ONGC in the lead but he couldn't direct his placement past Bagan goalkeeper Shilton Paul who gathered with ease.
Bagan's attacks were predictable as they were all directed to Odafa making Robin Gurung and Man-of-the-Match Hasan Adeola's task easier.
"The result proved Mohun Bagan are a one-man team. It's all about Odafa and Nabi," commented ONGC Coach Subrata Bhattacharya at the end of the match. "The day Odafa will score, Bagan will win; the day he won't, Bagan will fumble," he added.
However, Bagan Coach Mridul Banerjee dismissed the comments saying: "Mohun Bagan is about Odafa alone. It was bad luck. We had our chances but couldn't convert them."
(Image courtesy: AIFF Media)