Chennaiyin FC's were held to a frustrating goalless draw against Bengaluru FC at Fatorda Stadium on Friday.
Coach Csaba Laszlo's side put up a spirited performance but their misfiring attack just could not get past Bengaluru keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
BFC interim coach Naushad Moosa made two changes to his Bengaluru side which won against SC East Bengal as Erik Paartalu and Parag Shrivas were given starts. Manuel Lanzarote was handed his debut for Chennaiyin as Anirudh Thapa and Enes Sipovic returned.
Chennaiyin bossed possession and dominated the first session, forcing Gurpreet into action on numerous occasions.
Chennaiyin had the first chance of the game when Esmael Goncalves, Isma, went close. He made his way into the Bengaluru area but his shot was saved by a diving Gurpreet. Rahim Ali got the rebound, but his tame shot was easily stopped by the custodian.
Moments later, Thapa swirled in a cross into the box, which was met by Lallianzuala Chhangte, but the header found Gurpreet. Soon after, Ali released a ball to Chhangte on the left. The winger cut inside and shot straight at Gurpreet.
A rare chance for Bengaluru was blocked by a diving Eli Sabia at the other end.
Chhangte raced down the far side and set Lanzarote through.
The Spaniard got into the box and played a lofted pass to Goncalves but Gurpreet anticipated danger and charged ahead to get the crucial touch, to deflect the ball off Goncalves for a goal kick.
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In the second half, Chennaiyin continued to dominatel. Lanzarote nearly scored from a set-piece but the BFC keeper managed to get a fingertip save onto the crossbar.
Bengaluru managed to get the ball in the back of the net, but their celebrations were cut short when the referee disallowed the goal, correctly, for offside. Xisco Hernandez picked Francisco Gonzalez at the back post, and he headed into the back of the net. But the assistant referee had raised his flag.
Chhangte had two glorious chances to win the game late on, but spoiled the first one by dribbling into danger when he could have shot early and saw the second denied by a superb Gurpreet save.
Soon after, Memo saw a thunderous freekick from 35-yards cannon off the post. Coach Laszlo looked to the heavens with an expression of despair that summed up Chennaiyin's night, and season.
Bengaluru remain sixth with 19 points in 16, while Chennaiyin languish below in eighth, with 17 in 16. BFC play ATK Mohun Bagan next on Feb 9, Chennaiyin take on Jamshedpur the next day, Feb 10.