Odisha FC and Chennaiyin FC played out a goalless, feisty, draw at the GMC Stadium, Bambolim, on Sunday.
The game, which essentially served as the first leg of a double-header as both teams will meet again on Wednesday, saw both teams failing to convert clear-cut chances.
That Odisha had only three shots on target while Chennaiyin managed just two (of the twelve shots they took) showed just how both sides cancelled each other out. Chennaiyin, the better side in terms of possession, though had a couple of chances to get a winner but their forwards were unable to convert.
Chennaiyin dominated the opening exchanges, creating multiple chances in the opening quarter. They had their first big chance during the second minute, but Rahim Ali failed to put his team up ahead. A long ball found him through on goal with only Odisha keeper Arshdeep Singh to beat. But his final touch was too heavy and allowed Arshdeep to come out and smother the ball.
In the 14th minute, Lallianzuala Chhangte received the ball from Anirudh Thapa and drilled in a low shot, but it only struck the side netting.
The first half got increasingly aggressive with both teams committing a number of fouls. Chennaiyin earned two yellow cards -- Enes Sipovic and Jerry Lalrinzuala.
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Odisha thought they had the lead as the half drew to a close. Diego Mauricio headed in a cross from Cole Alexander, only for the linesman to correctly signal for offside. Then, with what was almost the last kick of the half, Jakub Sylvestr had a great chance to find the opening goal. Reagan Singh found him in the box and Sylvestr flicked it brilliantly toward goal, only for it to be stopped by an even better save from Arshdeep. The Odisha keeper was in top form throughout the first half and was a major reason why both teams went in goalless at the break.
The second half started with Chhangte getting in behind the Odisha defence yet again and finding the side netting for the second time. In the 71st minute, Ali wasted another great chance. A mistake by Steven Taylor left the youngster with only Arshdeep to beat again. This time he managed to do it, but struck his shot against the post.
The last ten minutes of the game was mostly played out in Odisha's half as Chennaiyin pushed for a winner. However, the Odisha defence stood firm.