KOCHI: Army XI was held to a goalless draw by unfancied Jammu & Kashmir Bank in the ONGC Second Division NFL match at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here on Friday. The result puts Army XI in a must-win situation when it takes on Indian Bank in its last league encounter on Sunday.
The Army men had plenty of chances and even put the ball into the net early in the second half but the goal was disallowed as the scorer, Ngernilal, was pulled up for off-side.
The Army men could have sewn up the match in injury time when the ball popped out of the hands of the Jammu and Kashmir goalkeeper Vikramjeet Singh as Vijay Thapa fired in a right footer from the top of the box. However, substitute Samuel's shot only managed to hit the upright.
Apart from that error, Vikramjeet was in fine form under the bar. The goalkeeper made at least two good saves in the first half to keep his team afloat in the match.
Thirunavakarsu was the first one to test Vikramjeet Singh's ability in the 27th minute. Seven minutes later, the goalkeeper dived full length to palm away a stiff right footer from Raghu Kumar.
The Army's problems were compounded due to the poor form shown by its striker Ngernilal. The striker cut a sorry figure when he shot over the advancing Vikramjeet Singh in the 40th minute. Earlier, he had wasted another chance by blasting out from close.
In the second-half, a break-away move saw Thirunavakarsu fire in a right footer which was palmed away by Vikramjeet Singh. Ngernilal who was hovering around the penalty box latched on to the rebound and scored. But by then, the linesman had already had the flag raised.
The bankmen made it difficult for the Army side by tightening their defence. Nigerian Albert Eke played his heart out and was an able ally for goalkeeper Vikramjeet.
Army XI now has five points from five matches while Jammu & Kashmir Bank opens its account in the tournament with this draw.