MBFC goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh’s brilliance across both halves denied Chennaiyin FC all three points on a night of Indian Super League football at the Fatorda Stadium.
Bengaluru FC failed in front of goal and struggled to deal with the threat created by the Chennaiyin side throughout the game. Chennaiyin FC, who have been poor in front of goal all season, struggled to find the back of the net despite having 19 shots on goal across the game.
Chennaiyin FC played in a 4-4-2 progressive formation, which often shifted to 4-3-3 in attack. Bengaluru FC fielded a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Sunil Chhetri often switching positions upfront looking to widen the play. BFC started the game positively finding spaces in the Chennaiyin half, often threatening to find half-spaces in the middle for Chhetri. This created early threats for Chennaiyin but they soon started to regain the upper hand. Long diagonal balls from the back started to find Isma in dangerous places in the Bengaluru half. The space left in the middle by the blues was often exploited by CFC as they squandered chance after chance in the first quarter of the game.
The first noteworthy moment of the game came in the 21st minute for CFC when Thapa’s cross into the box was headed by Chhangte on the run, but fell straight into the hands of Gurpreet who held it comfortably. For, BFC their first chance of the game came just after the drink’s break when Chhetri’s first time shot, was brilliantly blocked by Sabia inside the penalty box. There were a total of 18 fouls made by both sides in the first half. BFC struggled to find enough creativity in the middle of the park, or through the wings struggling to build up from the back as the game progressed. CFC’s new signing Lanzarote, continue to find Isma in threatening positions as he threaded beautiful passes behind the BFC defence. Lanza had an early attempt on goal at the start of the second half but his effort was brilliantly anticipated by Gurpreet who got a fingertip to drive the ball away. Youngster Lallianzuala Chhangte continued to excel on the left-wing but lacked a final product in front of goal. Bengaluru meanwhile failed to take advantage of back to back corners with Chennaiyin doing well to clear them away from danger. Xisco did however find the back of the net for BFC in 75th minute only to be ruled out as offside. Both Isma and Chhangte missed two golden opportunities for CFC in the 77th and 78th min of the game with Gurpreet making a superb save on the dive to stop the ball going into the net on the second attempt. BFC were by the last quarter of the game holding on, being constantly pinned back in their own half. CFC went closest to a goal once again in 84th min after a Memo screamer from distance deflected off the bar. Both sides tried desperately to create a breakthrough in the last minutes of the game but failed to do so. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Subrata Paul managed to set an ISL record of 29 clean sheets on the back of this draw.
The result leaves Bengaluru FC three points adrift of the playoffs, having played at least a game more than the sides ahead of them. Chennaiyin FC, on the other hand, remain 8th in the table, 5 points adrift of fourth-placed Hyderabad. BFC face ATK Mohun Bagan next, at the Fatorda, on February 9 and Chennaiyin face Jamshedpur FC on 10th of February.