I-League: Bengaluru FC play out an entertaining goalless draw with Dempo
Bengaluru FC and Dempo SC, shared the spoils of battle, in their opening match of the Hero I-League season 2015, as the teams entwined in a goalless draw. Arguably the best talents of the subcontinent were on show when the Blues took on the Golden Eagles.
The match was an eye candy for the I-League audience and featured a fusion of high-octane football along with tactical prowess.
Following their Federation Cup win, the I-League champions started with their usual formation of 4-2-3-1, with Robin Singh leading the line. Captain, Sunil Chhetri was at the helm of things at the left wing position while Curtis Osano and John Johnson comprised the heart of Blues’ defence.
Arthur Papas fielded a young team when juxtaposed against the star power of Bengaluru FC. New recruit, Nirmal Chhetri bagged his first start and filled in the left back domain. One notable absentee was prolific striker Tolgay Ozbey, who had a stellar Federation Cup and scored six goals. Ozbey, was sidelined due to an injury.
The Golden Eagles, panned out in what seemed to be a 4-4-1-1, with Romeo Fernandes, once again operating as a creative outlet and powering Ozbey’s replacement Holicharan Narzary.
The visitors started better
The Goan outfit, started their first game of the I-League 2015 campaign, on a high. The Golden Eagle attack, led by Holicharan, constantly threatened Bengaluru’s defence.
The Golden Eagles, came close to opening their goal scoring tally in the 22nd minute, when Agnus’ header flew inches from the post.
However, tragedy struck Arthur Papas in the 24th minute, as Romeo Fernandes, a leading light for Dempo, suffered a nasty slip. Without further ado, the Goan outfit immediately replaced their star player with Alwyn George.
Bengaluru FC, started to counter Dempo’s impressive opening to the fixture and depended on the ariel prowess of Robin Singh, to guide the Blues in attack.
Sunil Chhetri’s penalty miss proved costly
The Ashley Westewood side were handed a brilliant opportunity to edge Dempo, in the 44th minute when Agnus was brought down inside the 18 yard box. However, Sunil Chhetri of all people, shot a feeble looking penalty at Dempo’s goalkeeper Kattymani, who saved a pathetic effort and denied the Blues, a slender lead.
The second half was all Bengaluru FC as the Blues constantly pressed, with every passing minute, towards the Dempo goal.
The attacking trio of Sunil Chhetri, Sean Rooney and Robin Singh, pressed a hapless looking Dempo defence, relentlessly.
However, Arthur Papas switched tactics and the Golden Eagles, headed in midfield by Jewel Raja and Lenny Rodrigues, started to hold on to the ball.
Both contingents cancelled each other’s approaches and played out an enthralling goalless draw.