Rayan Rozario

Coimbatore: A decent holiday crowd turned up to see a young Chandigarh side hold Chhattisgarh, clearly the day’s favourite, to a goalless draw in its opening Cluster I fixture of the 63rd Santosh Trophy National football championship at the Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.

Chandigarh kept Chhattisgarh at full stretch in the initial stages. The latter, however, quickly found its rhythm and drove forward on to the attack, with the midfield searching selflessly to create a chance for its strikers. And, it did not take long for the first course.

Senthil Kumar, sensing that this might be his best chance, timed his approach to perfection. He quickly latched on to a tempting aerial strike from the left and in a rush of blood hammered the ball over the crossbar.

Chhattisgarh started the second phase just as they did the first. Wasim Raja twice moved dangerously into the penalty area but found the Chandigarh custodian Aditya Kumar hard to beat. Skipper Kulwant Singh had his share as well but missed a rare chance midway through.

“We easily missed about four sitters. If we miss these many then we don’t deserve to win,” said a disappointed Chhattisgarh coach, Vikram Dastidar, after the match.

The result: Chandigarh 0 drew with Chhattisgarh 0.

Monday’s match: Maharashtra vs. Uttar Pradesh, 4 p.m.

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