Guwahati: NorthEast United FC and Kerala Blasters FC played out a goalless draw in a Hero Indian Super League match at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here on Friday.
After a cagey first 45 minutes, both the sides had chances to clinch the game in the second half but due to poor finishing the game finished goalless.
Kerala are eighth on the table with 15 points while NorthEast United, who have not scored for five games in a row now, are a spot below with 12 points.
The game got off to a sedate start with the ball mired in midfield as both sides struggled to find their rhythm.
There was a lack of urgency from both the teams, unsurprising given the fact that both sides were out of the running for play-off spots.
NorthEast were handed a blow in the middle of the first half when Provat Lakra went off injured and Wayne Vaz had to fill in. Both goalkeepers continued to be untested as the half went by.
The first real chance of the game finally came in the 41st minute when Federico Gallego picked out Andy Keogh’s run from a chipped free-kick, but the Irishman could not keep his first-time volley on target.
Just before the break, NorthEast custodian Subhasish Roy Chowdhury was forced into a save when Moustapha Gning glanced a header from Sergio Cidoncha’s free-kick.
The second-half witnessed a flurry of chances.
NorthEast should have taken the lead within two minutes of restart when Gallego picked out substitute Nikhil Kadam’s run into the box with a brilliant pass but Kadam’s shot from close-range was parried away by Kerala goalkeeper Bilal Khan.
A few minutes later, Cidoncha’s ball into the box fell for Gning just outside the box and his effort was kept out by Subhasish.
Kerala continued to be on the ascendancy and forced another save from the NorthEast custodian just past the hour mark.
This time, it was Halicharan Narzary who found space to shoot from just inside the box but it was too close to Subhasish.
The tale of missed chances continued as Bartholomew Ogbeche latched on to Gianni Zuiverloon’s long ball in the 73rd minute and had just Subhasish to beat but his shot wide from close-range.
At the other end, Keogh turned smartly after receiving Gallego’s pass but sent his volley straight to goalkeeper Bilal Khan.(PTI)