KOLKATA: East Bengal’s U-19 IFA Shield hopes were ended after a goalless draw with Mohammedan Sporting Club at East Bengal Ground on Sunday.
Going into the game, Mohammedan were already eliminated after losing two previous matches against Pathachakra Club (2-1) and AIFF Elite Academy (4-0), while East Bengal had to win and hope for a favour from AIFF Academy in the day’s other game at Howrah, but there was to be no miracle as Pathachakra beat AIFF Academy 2-0.
East Bengal were one of the pre-tournament favourites but they go out without winning a game, with Pathachakra and AIFF Academy progressing to the semifinals respectively as winners and runners-up of Group-A.
East Bengal started with confidence and might have had the opener in the 20th minute when Lalchhanhima missed out on a square pass from Bidyashagar Singh on the right wing.
But after the two teams broke on the half hour mark for a brief cooling break, Mohammedan emerged much more attacking flair and should have been ahead three minutes later when Goutam Teli was unmarked at the back post but missed his shot from just yards out.
A snap effort from Sachin Singh in the 42nd minute was also off target, as was Parwej Ali’s hard strike just before the break.
Changing over, both sides battled hard in the midfield. However, it was Mohammedan who had the better chances to take the lead.
Mohammedan kept on pushing forward and had two more close chances midway through the half, but the strike pair of Goutam and Sachin were both denied by the East Bengal custodian Sovan Biswas.
First Goutam charged up and took a crack on the target but the attempt was palmed away by the keeper in the 62nd minute. Then, Sachin was denied by a last ditch clearance after he did well to get a shot on target in the 64th minute.
In the final quarter, both sides engaged in an end-to-end battle but couldn’t break the deadlock as the game ended goalless.