Defending champion, Hyderabad FC, and ATK Mohun Bagan were locked in a goalless draw in the first-leg of the Hero ISL semifinal at the Gachibowli Stadium here on Thursday.
It was a story of missed chances right through the contest with HFC being the culprit on greater number of occasions.
After failing to open the account in the first session, HFC had a chance to score in the 55th minute but saw the speedy Mohammad Yasir’s left-footer hit the vertical.
Though Mohun Bagan showed better enterprise and intent upfront, it too failed to capitalise on the scoring chances. In the 81st minute, forward Liston Colaco’s long-ranger found the HFC custodian Gurmeet Singh.
Even head coach Manolo Marquez’s familiar gamble, of bringing on star player Bartholomew Ogbeche as a substitute in the second-half in the 60th minute to lusty cheers, failed to break the deadlock though he did threaten to score twice
In the dying minutes, Mohun Bagan had one final shy at the goal when substitute Federico Gallego on the run down the centre essayed a beautiful short pass to the omnipresent Dimitrios Petratos. The latter’s right-footer landed right in front of Gurmeet who made a comfortable save.
Earlier, in the first-half, HFC had the first opportunity to strike in the seventh minute when Borja Gonzalez essayed a perfect cross to the waiting Joel Chianese whose right-footer was well blocked by custodian Vishal Kaith.
For HFC, Borja was all over the rival defence repeatedly with his defence-splitting moves but poor finishing coupled with fine goalkeeping denied the home team.
In a rare counter-attack, ATK came closest to scoring the first goal in the 38th minute when Dimitrios Petrotas’s free-kick found Subhasish Bose who squared it for captain Pritam Kotal waiting close to the goalline. Kotal’s attempt hit the crossbar, even as the goalkeeper Gurmeet was caught on the wrong foot.
Within a couple of minutes, ATK had another chance when Petratos chipped one from the top of the box to the waiting Hugo Boumous. Before the latter could react, an alert HFC defender Chinglensana Singh was equal to the task and cleared the danger.
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