Though it was the second consecutive day when a Bengal club Chirag United was playing at the Ambedkar Stadium,the crowd was not in as much of a celebratory mood as in the East Bengal match on Saturday when they came out with flags and whistles. And considering the goalless draw Chirag had against Pune FC,the supporters indeed had less of a reason to cheer.
Though evenly contested on both sides of the ground,the teams never really came close to neat finishes,often making the crowd gasp in anticipation of a goal but never giving them a chance to complete their celebration. While Pune were clearly the better side,dominating ball possession and coming up with clever passes,they failed to convert those opportunities into goals.
Either their headers went wide,or they ballooned shots from close range into the neighboring Feroze Shah Kotla stadium or in the case of Edmars 58th minute strike,denied by an offside call.
We kept the ball control,passed well but we lack another striker with Edmar. Our other striker (Mandjou) Keita has gone back to Guinea to extend his visa and that cost us today, Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira told The Indian Express.
Chirag came close to ending the deadlock 14 minutes into the second half,when Josimar Da Silva Martine was brought down by Punes Lamine Tamba with a crunching tackle in the penalty box. A couple of minutes later Silva was again lying on his stomach but this time after missing the penalty kick.
If we would not have missed the penalty,it would have been great but Junior (Alijah) and (Sergoy) Tokov are not playing so we dont have many attack options anyway and the defence needs to improve too, Chirag coach Subrata Bhattacharjee said later.
With one win and a draw,Pune FC has a chance to enter the semi-final only if Indian Air Force beat Chirag on Tuesday while in order for Chirag to go through they have to win with a three goal margin.
Churchill make the semis
In an earlier match between Churchill Brothers and Army Red,though Goan giants Churchill lived up to their favourites tag as they made the semi-finals after a 3-1 win on Sunday.
Churchills star striker Odafa Onyka Okoli had a great game as he converted two of his team mates passes (Bineesh,35 th and Piate,90 th minute) into goals. When Bineesh Balan was fouled in the box,Odafa also scored off the penalty to register a hat-trick.
It was a difficult match for us,Army fought back and the afternoon heat made it tougher. We couldnt afford a draw today so all our attack was focused on giving the ball to Odafa and he did well. Well look to spread the ball more in the semifinal, Churchill coach Vincent Subramaniyam said.