East Bengal were held to a goalless draw by Punjab FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday. The 5-0 win over NorthEast United FC on December 4 had given hopes of a revival in fortunes, but Saturday’s result proved East Bengal are still searching for consistency.
It was a tight contest right from the beginning, with the home side and Punjab FC taking formidable shots at goal in the opening 15 minutes.
Naorem Mahesh Singh was a constant presence in and around the Punjab FC backline, playing quick one-twos, trying to take on the defenders, and earning fouls with his close control over the ball.
Saul Crespo had spearheaded the midfield forward and attempted to finish a well-constructed move from outside of the box in the seventh minute, only for the shot to lack enough power behind it eventually.
Cleiton Silva was handed a fine chance by Mahesh soon afterwards, but the Brazilian’s right-footed shot was blocked.
Mahesh intermittently shifted flanks, with his tearaway pace earning his side set-pieces on both wings. However, nearly all of those opportunities didn’t create any chance.
Krishnananda Singh and Tekcham Singh interlinked inside the East Bengal box, with the former shooting from close range, for the effort to be saved by Prabsukhan Singh Gill in the 40th minute.
In the 60th, Krishnananda had another opportunity to draw the first blood, this time courtesy a cross by Juan Mera.