Report: Resilient East Bengal FC hold Odisha FC to a goalless draw
East Bengal FC put on a solid defensive display to hold Odisha FC to a goalless draw.
East Bengal FC kept a fourth consecutive clean sheet as they played a goalless draw against Odisha FC at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 tonight. The Juggernauts held two-third of the possession, 67% to be precise, but fell short of giving shape to proper goal-scoring opportunities, as their eight shots were beaten by the 13 taken by the home side. East Bengal FC even hit three of them on target, as compared to the only one by Odisha FC.
For the visitors, the opportunity to get ahead in the game came early, in the ninth minute itself. Lalthathanga Khawlhring, fondly called as Puitea, spotted a disarranged East Bengal FC and played a pass for Isak Vanlalruatfela at the centre outside the 18-yard box. The 22-year-old fast burst through the home side’s defensive unit, but his shot failed to find the back of the net, though it did have the potential to set the tone for the rest of the game for the Juggernauts.
That was not to be though, as East Bengal FC and their skilful wingers and midfielders came to the fore gradually. Nandhakumar Sekar initiated one such move in the 27th minute, wide from the right flank. The winger, who had scored twice in this ground against NorthEast United FC earlier this month, broke inside the box as an onrushing Cleiton Silva awaited his delivery in the middle. However, Nandha took matters in his own hands, taking on the trio of Ahmed Jahouh, Carlos Delgado, and Mourtada Fall, before unleashing a powerful shot that was duly saved by Amrinder Singh.
The Odisha FC custodian was called up to action again in the 48th minute, with the duo of Borja Herrera and Jose Antonio Pardo coming together to enable the latter to test the goalkeeper from distance. Amrinder held his ground and thwarted the chance, thus sustaining chances for his team to sneak back into the proceedings. Cleiton Silva and his ambitious header from the edge of the box in the 82nd minute could have capitalised on Amrinder’s efforts. Naorem Mahesh Singh chipped in a perfectly weighted cross for the Brazilian, to help him find his sixth strike of the season. Unfortunately, Silva couldn’t direct the ball on target, of what could otherwise have been one of the contenders for the goal of the season.
Nevertheless, both these teams continue to be embroiled in the middle of the table right after this result, with Odisha FC in the fifth spot and East Bengal FC in the seventh place.
Key Performer of the Match
Hijazi Maher (East Bengal FC)
The 26-year-old defender was a lively presence at the back for the home side, playing 28 passes and completing 23 of them. He made seven clearances, made an interception, but also created two goal-scoring opportunities to round off a neat and convincing performance from the heart of the defensive unit.
What’s next for both teams?
Odisha FC will next square off against Punjab FC on December 26, whereas East Bengal FC have rounded off their first-half of the ISL 2023-24 campaign with this fixture. The result of the schedule will be announced in due time.
East Bengal FC 0 – 0 Odisha FC
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