Chirag United holds East Bengal

Principal Correspondent

KOLKATA: Former champion Kingfisher East Bengal was held to a goalless draw by local opponent Chirag United SC in a 12th round encounter of the I-League football tournament here at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday.

Looking to come out of a spell of three successive loses in the last three rounds of the first phase which eventually cost coach Stanley Rosario his job, East Bengal failed to regain the winning form under its new coach Subhas Bhowmick.

The match was more of a triumph for the former East Bengal coach Subrata Bhattacharya, who now is charge of United SC.

In the final analysis, underdog United SC did better in realising its strategy — that of snatching at least one point from its famed opponent.

Bhowmick, who had earlier helped East Bengal to the same title (previously known as the National Football League) twice, thus had a rough start to his third stint as coach to the same side.

Insipid show

East Bengal scored low both on motivation and application despite having at least four national team players in its ranks. Sunil Chhetri and Ghanaian Yusif Yakubu, considered one of the best attack combinations in the country, failed to lend credence to their status.

Though Chhetri made two good attempts in the second session the goal remained elusive. His first attempt in the 50th minute came off the crosspiece while the United SC custodian Somnath Khara saved his second attempt, in the 63rd minute.

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