Fancied Mohun Bagan failed to close the gap on their traditional rivals East Bengal after being held to a goal-less draw by Mumbai FC, who scored their first point in seven matches, in the I-League on Wednesday.
At the end of the ninth round encounter at the Cooperage Ground, Mohun Bagan remained in second position with 18 points -- still three points adrift of East Bengal but with an extra game in hand—while Mumbai FC were placed eighth having finally broken a six-game losing streak.
Both teams had few chances in the first half and even as the deadly duo of Darryl Duffy and Yusa Katsumi tried to look for opportunities, the hosts were left disappointed when Thoi Singh’s stunner from the right flank was ruled out by the referee in the 18th minute.
Much to the surprise of the home team and its fans, the goal was not allowed.
Having rested Jeje Lalpekhlua for the match, Mohun Bagan coach Sanjay Sen fielded Balwant Singh early in the second half, but it was Mumbai who came close to scoring after the break, through its new Brazilian import Alex Willian Silva, whose free kick in the 50th minute missed the rival post by a whisker.
It was the turn of Mohun Bagan to come up with a move, but Sony Norde, positioned inside the box, skied his shot in the 67th minute.
Jeje was added to bolster the attack and Katsumi and Norde combined well to set up another chance for the Haitian in the 81st minute, but Norde’s attempt hit the side netting after a deflection.