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Mahindra, Bagan finish goalless

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January 11, 2006 22:15 IST

Jose Barreto failed to sparkle as Federation Cup winners Mahindra United were held goalless by Mohun Bagan in an exciting match in the ONGC Cup 10th National Football League in Kolkata on Wednesday.

The floodlit exchange at the Salt Lake stadium gave the modest crowd their money's worth, with the combating teams engaged in an engrossing battle all through the 90 minutes.

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With both teams playing their lung-opener, the two coaches stressed on strengthening their defence formations that led to few openings, though Mahindra had the better share of the exchanges.

However, the Mumbai side's moves seemed to finish before Bagan custodian Subroto Paul, who had an astounding day, preventing his side's collapse time and again and was adjudged man of the match.

All eyes were on Barreto, who played his first match in Kolkata -- and that too against his old side -- since being forced to leave the Kolkata club last year. But Bagan coach Jahar Das's tactics of employing close marking for the Brazilian seemed to pay off as the lethal striker had little manoeuvering space.

Still he was able to fashion what could perhaps be rated the most beautiful moment of the match.

Fed by James Singh in the 37th minute, the Brazilian displayed fine control, dribbled past a Bagan player and then took a spectacular left-footer on the turn. However, Paul came to the rescue of his side by punching the ball out of harm's way.

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