NorthEast United extended their unbeaten run this season as they drew 0-0 with Chennaiyin FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Sunday.
NEUFC made three changes to the side as Idrissa Sylla started upfront ahead of Kwesi Appiah. Meanwhile, Chennaiyin made two changes to their line-up with Anirudh Thapa returning to take a place on the bench.
Chennaiyin shaded possession in the first half but both sides lacked the cutting edge in the final third. NorthEast keeper Gurmeet Singh was called into action early on as Chennaiyin created a chance as early as the first minute -- Lallianzuala Chhangte receiving a long ball from Jakub Sylvestr in the box but shooting straight at the keeper. Five minutes later, Edwin Vanspaul had another opportunity to put Chennaiyin ahead. The midfielder pounced on a loose ball following a clearance, only to see his effort narrowly miss the far post.
NorthEast had their chances too and in the 18th minute, came close to breaking the deadlock. Benjamin Lambot, unmarked in the box, won a free header from a corner but failed to place his effort on target. Another big opportunity went begging for them in the 38th minute, again coming through a set-piece. Luis Machado whipped a corner in and Dylan Fox sent his effort over the crossbar.
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Both teams began the second half with intent. NEUFC created a clear-cut chance in the 55th minute only to be denied by Chennaiyin keeper Vishal Kaith. VP Suhair received the ball on the left flank and fired a cross into the box for Sylla, whose powerful shot was superbly tipped over the crossbar. Chhangte had another opportunity to score the opener before the hour mark. After receiving the ball on the rebound after a save from Gurmeet, the winger placed his effort over the bar from close range.
However, the best chance of the game arrived during the 66th minute and NorthEast should have taken the lead. Substitute Rochharzela split the Chennaiyin defense with a lovely through ball for Sylla. The striker, with only Kaith to beat, poked his shot inches wide of the post.
NEUFC, with 10 points alongside ATK Mohun Bagan, are now second in the table while Chennaiyin FC have now failed to pick up a win in their last four matches, and are eight with 5 points in five.