I-League: Chennai City, Minerva share spoils

While any debutant will take a point on the board, Chennai City will consider itself unlucky to not score all three points.

Minerva Punjab held Chennai City FC to a draw in the season opener at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Chennai.   -  i league

Chennai City FC and Minerva Punjab FC, making their I-League debuts, played out a goalless draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, here on Sunday.

After the early jitters from both sides, the teams got into their groove after a quarter of an hour had passed.

READ: >Logistical nightmares plague Chennai City ahead of bow

However, it was the home side that started to carve the better chances and should have scored at least twice, if not thrice, before the half time break.

The sparsely populated crowd — official figure quotes it at 4,000, a bloated number — came into life in the 10th minute when Abhishek Das whipped in a ball from the right flank into the box to find Lalnun Maiwa's head. Unfortunately for Chennai City his header didn't trouble Minerva 'keeper Ravi Kumar.

> Both teams happy with point

The home side was hardly troubled by Minerva Punjab and created two more, clear-cut chances to get on the scoresheet. Maiwa was the guilty party again and Afghanistan midfielder Fakhruddin Amiri, who was a livewire throughout the game, also fluffed his lines. Amiri's first touch in the final third let him down and he was showing signs of rustiness, as he was playing after a long break.

Despite having the bigger piece of the possesion pie, Minerva Punjab could hardly muster any opportunities. But skipper Manandeep Singh went the closest with a fierce left foot shot that was denied by birthday boy Karanjit Singh, the Chennai City goalkeeper. Both 'keepers ensured the scoreline was 0-0 at the break.

The second-half was more of the same as Chennai City's attack regularly penetrated the Minerva defence. The introduction of Brazilian forward Marcus Tank rejuvenated the crowd even as he created havoc on the left flank. Tank, built like one, should have put the game to bed towards the end of the game but his meek shot didn't trouble Kumar. In the end, it wasn't meant to be as the game ended 0-0.

While any debutant will take a point on the board, Chennai City will consider itself unlucky to not score all three.

Man of the match: Karanjit Singh

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