GOA: Bengal were unlucky to be held to a goalless draw by the hosts Goa in a Final Round Group A fixture of the 71st National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy on Thursday at GMC Stadium in Bambolim.
Having dominated the entire game, Bengal fell short of converting the numerous chances that fell their way in both halves and ended up sharing spoils. With 7 point from three games, Bengal remained atop while Goa moved up to second with 4 points in a five-team group.
Both the teams started off with caution. However, Bengal were more organized in attack but could not able to penetrate into rival box as Goa defenders did well to keep the Bengal attackers in check.
Manvir Singh, who was a marked-man from very beginning, had the first chance to put Bengal ahead but with all the time in the world to slam the ball home from Basanta Singh’s pass the Mohammedan SC striker put his effort wide.
Goa, on the other hand, came close to scoring on a couple of occasions through Leander D’Cunha and Liston Colaco but the Bengal defense thwarted their attempts with ease as both sides went into the breather tied at goalless.
Changing over, Bengal kept on probing into the rival half and they came close with Ronald Singh and Debasis Pradhan, as the Bengal attackers tested the Goa keeper Agnelo Gomes repeatedly it was just sheer luck that saved the day for Goa.
Bengal put relentless pressure on the rival defense in the final quarter of the game, but Goa defended deep and a alert goalkeeper in Agnelo Gomes stood his ground to ensure a point for Goa.
Elsewhere, defending champions Services, who suffered a defeat to Bengal on Tuesday, bounced back to winning ways with 1-0 win over Chandigarh at Tilak Maidan in Vasco.
The all-important goal came in the 8th minute when Francis Zountlunga converted from the spot, which ultimately turned out to be the match winner and helped Services to register their first win of the competition.