Emami East Bengal were held to a goalless draw by Rajasthan United in a fastpaced Durand Cup match at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan here on Thursday.
East Bengal had more chances in the Group B game and also more possession, but the Rajasthan side missed a penalty in the second half. Rajasthan United and Mumbai City FC are currently the top two teams in the group.
East Bengal coach Stephen Constantine made four changes to their starting lineup, bringing in Alex Lima, Tuhin Das, Jerry Lalrinzuala and Cypriot Charalambos Kyriacou in place of the injured Naorem Mahesh Singh, Mobashir Rahman, Pritam Singh and Wahengbam Angousana.
Rajasthan coach Pushpender Kundu made just one change, bringing in Brazilian forward Sergio Barboza Junior in place of Alister Anthony. East Bengal were in charge from the get go as Rajasthan absorbed the pressure in front of a noisy 12,000 strong home crowd.
Just after an injured Ankit Mukherjee was replaced by Md. Rakip, Aniket Jadhav, who had a superb game down the right flank, drove into the box and cut back for Amarjeet whose shot, however, grazed the cross-bar. Lalremsanga Fanai got Rajasthan’s first shot on target off a corner, but his acrobatic volley went straight to the keeper Kamaljit.
Constantine effected two changes at the break, replacing Amarjit Kiyam with Souvik Chakrabarti and Spaniard Ivan Gonzalez with Kyriacou. Rajasthan’s golden chance to score came in the 61st minute when Lalremsanga was brought down inside the box by Souvik and referee Crystal John had no hesitation in pointing to the dreaded spot. The effort from Barboza Junior was weak and Kamaljit saved it easily. In another match in Guwahati, Army Green played out a goalless draw against Sudeva Delhi FC.