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ISL 5: Chennaiyin, Kerala play out goalless draw

CHENNAI: Chennaiyin FC played out a goalless draw with Kerala Blasters in their Indian Super League clash on Thursday.

Chennaiyin were desperately in need of the maximum points, but they failed to make the home advantage count for them and can only rue their missed chances of which there were many in what was a tough game played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai.

The result saw Chennaiyin remain on 9th place with 5 points from 9 matches while Kerala Blasters are on 7th position with 8 points.

Both teams started the game at a frantic pace in the hope of catching their opponents early on but to no avail.

Chennaiyin looked the more likely to open the scoring and almost did so in the 6th minute when Isaac Vanmalsawma crossed in from the left side to Andrea Orlandi inside the box but the Spaniard’s header went straight to keeper.

Jeje Lalpekhlua also came close to break the deadlock for the hosts in the 20th minute when Orlandi made his way into the box from the left flank and cut it back to Jeje who fired his shot off target.

Chennaiyin were attacking with zeal, precision and tenacity in the first-half. They were asking all sorts of questions to the Kerala Blasters defence and could have taken the lead on the 30-minute mark.

Orlandi floated a free-kick in from the left and Eli Sabia head it down for Thoi Singh to shot on goal. However, Dheeraj made fantastic diving save on his left to keep his side in the game.

Kerala Blasters created little in reply, with their only notable attacking effort of the first-half seeing Halicharan Narzary controlling a ball in the penalty area, but any hopes of getting away a shot were quickly crushed by Chennaiyin custodian Sanjiban Ghosh in the 38th minute.

Thereafter, neither side were able to create any further chances in the first-half with the score deadlocked 0-0 as the teams headed for the change room at the break.

The hosts visitors were better after the break, but continued to be frustrated by a disciplined Chennaiyin defense.

Keziron Kizito fored over the target six minutes into the second-half, while a short while after Sahal Abdul Samad saw his goal-bound effort stymied by Sanjiban.

At the other end, Raphael Augusto led a quick counter-attack, but his shot took a deflection and Dheeraj collected the ball with ease.

The embattled goalkeeper needed to make another top save shortly after the hour mark when a free-kick from Orlandi found Jeje who headed on target in the 71st minute.

Seiminlen Doungel should have netted the winner for Kerala Blasters in the 82nd minute when he received a lovely pass from Zakeer Mundampara and went one against one with Sanjiban, who produced a brilliant save to prevent his side from losing two points.

The remainder of the match was a frustrating time for Chennaiyin, who dominated play but were unable to find a way through Kerala Blasters’ resilient defense. Even the introduction of Carlos Salom and Anirudh Thapa off the bench didn’t help the hosts find the breakthrough.

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