Three-time champions Mohun Bagan failed to translate their overall supremacy and opportunities into goals and finished goalless with Salgaocar, Goa, in a ninth National Football League match in Kolkata on Wednesday.
With Brazilian Roberto Mendez Silva Beto leading the upfront assault with a brilliant display, the Kolkata giants kept their opponents under a tight leash for a major part of the 90-minute exchange, particularly in the second session, but failed to score.
Salgaocar, who seemed content in playing for a draw, gave a good example of dour defending after the breather, as their rearguard, marshalled by the seasoned Roberto Fernandes, stood firm.
The Goa side, however, found Beto a tough customer, as the Brazilian repeatedly rattled their defence with deft footwork and sudden bursts of speed. For his efforts he was adjudged the man of the match.
Both sides now have on 12 points, but Salgaocar have played 11 games, one more than Bagan.
Referee Walter Pereira had a tough time as both sides committed niggling fouls, forcing him to flash the yellow card at Bagan's Mehtab Hossain and Eduwardo, and Salgaocar's Felix Ibrebru.
Six minutes from the half-time whistle, Beto showed his magic yet again, as he sped past two Salgaocar defenders but and took a rasping shot which went wide.
Continuing the good work in the second half, Beto moved up the left and essayed a centre inside the box, but substitute Sunil Chhetri and Dharamjit could not connect properly. In the very next minute, Beto took a power-packed side volley, but the ball went marginally out.
Towards the close of the match, Salgaocar came near scoring from a sudden counter, but Bagan custodian Subrata Paul, who was a picture of confidence on his return to on-field action after serving a suspension, came out of his charge to effect a smart collection.