Kolkata: Former champions Mohun Bagan were held to a goalless draw by Neroca FC at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium in Kolkata on Monday.
Back into the side after sitting out of the Lajong match where Bagan succumbed to a 1-1 draw at home, the star duo of Sony Norde and Ansumana Kromah could not inspire the Mariners to a victory against a side that looked desperate for a point.
Nor for once would have one predicted such a stale draw after Norde nearly put his side ahead in the very first minute. His shot was however saved by a diving Lalit Thapa with the Haitian looking uncomfortable since then, a sign that he was played half-fit and eventually had to be stretched off in the 83rd minute. The same was with Kromah who limped quite a number of times throughout the match often struggling to keep pace with the opposition.
The ‘Men in Yellow’ on the other hand controlled proceedings from the middle of the park, with both Subhash Singh and You Singh attacking from the flanks often troubling the Bagan defence.
Failing to carve out easy openings and with Norde unable to take set-pieces, the Mariners did score one when Kromah latched onto a through ball from Shilton D’Sliva, sending the crowd into delirium. The referee had however raised his flag as both team went into the break goalless.
Five minutes into the second-half, Bagan buried one more in the net, but once again was ruled out for offiside. Kromah turned provider this time sending Norde clear into goal, however the goal was cancelled with the latter ruled offside.
Aser Dipanada Dicka expected to lead the line in the absence of Norde and Kromah, once again cut out a frustrating figure failing to inspire both from open play and set-pieces, which were bestowed on him in the absence of Norde.
The draw also meant that Bagan now has dropped four points at home, remaining third with nine points from five outings. The draw however not only saw Bagan succumbing to a second successive draw but added more pressure on coach Sanjoy Sen, who might now have to do without his mercurial captain Norde, after the Haitian was stretched off.