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Bagan hold East Bengal to goalless draw

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January 22, 2006 21:33 IST

East Bengal paid for missed chances and had to settle for a goalless draw in a lacklustre outing against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in the ONGC Cup 10th National Football League in Chandigarh on Sunday.

The red and gold brigade started on the offensive and grabbed five corners in the first seven minutes but failed to find their way to the rival goal throughout the proceedings at the Salt Lake stadium.

Star striker Bhaichung Bhutia, who was adjudged man of the match, was guilty of wasting at least a couple of close chances while Nigerian Mike Okoro proved no better in converting opportunities.

After the stalemate, East Bengal's tally went to five points from three matches while Bagan have two from three ties.

East Bengal squandered the best chance of the day in the 59th minute when Bhutia, fed by a diagonal pass from Anupam Sarkar, got the better of his cover Sanjiv Maria and raced into the box only to shoot wide from close range, much to the relief of Bagan custodian Imran Khan.

Minutes later, a cross from the right by S Malsawmtluanga saw Bhutia setting a chance for an advancing Okoro, whose powerful right-footer was saved by Imran for a corner.

Bagan's frontline remained unimpressive despite inclusion of new foreign recruits Ibrahim and Kofi Agbesi with the latter failing to score from a handshaking distance in the 84th minute.

East Bengal's Cameroonian recruit Kayeck Endem looked more enterprising and impressed with a sharp left-footed volley from the top of the box that narrowly went out.

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