| Arnab Mondal |
Calcutta: Chirag United missed out on a chance to defeat city rivals East Bengal in the I-League as the match ended goalless, at the Salt Lake Stadium, on Friday.
Joshimar got an opportunity to guide Chirag to victory when he was awarded a penalty in the 34th minute. It was the Brazilians only opportunity to shut out East Bengal, but his exaggerated shot rolled wide of the rival citadel triggering a joyous eruption among the red and gold brigade fans in the stands.
Just how much East Bengals success revolves around Tolgay Ozebe was established by his absence. Chirag successfully blunted the East Bengal attack, leaving Robin Singh with little space in the match.
It was a bad day for strikers — if the Joshimar-Branco Cardozo doomed Chirags chances, East Bengals new recruit, Biswarup Deb, failed to show much promise in company of Robin. Tolgays tendency to drift into the flanks and then cut inside with his sharp runs was missing and Trevor Morgan partly accepted it when he said: You miss Tolgay because he gives you that dynamism that we were missing today (Friday). He is good on one-on-ones, hes strong, hes quick… We missed that today. He, however, felt it was a big leap for Biswarup to don the red and gold colours and play in the I-League.
Tempers flew with both teams struggling to dominate the mid-field, Branco and Joshimar being yellow-carded together in the 23rd minute.
Meanwhile, a goal in the dying minutes by striker N D Opara helped ONGC register their first win of the tournament against Viva Kerala in Kolhapur, while Churchill Brothers scored a convincing 3-0 win over HAL in Margao.