In what turned out to be an entertaining tie, but without goals, Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United FC played out a goalless draw in their first Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 match at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Monday. Both sides created some dangerous chances, but couldn’t disrupt the scoreboard over the ninety minutes. The fixture also marked Ghanaian legend Asamoah Gyan’s Hero ISL debut.
- Asamoah Gyan’s goal in the first half was ruled out due to offside.
- Gyan hit the crossbar in the second-half.
- Overall, Bengaluru FC dominated the match, but the Highlanders crafted out some good chances of their own.
Raphael Augusto, Ashique Kuruniyan and Manuel Onwu were handed their Bengaluru FC debuts by Cuadrat, while new NorthEast head coach Robert Jarni named an adventurous line-up with Asamoah Gyan leading the line, helped out by young Uruguayan forward Martin Chaves.
The home side started with intent and kept probing at the NorthEast backline, creating a flurry of half chances early on. Ashique, operating from an unfamiliar left back position, could have opened the scoring on the 16th minute after going on a marauding run. He skipped past three opposition players to open up a shooting opportunity for himself but dragged his effort wide.
The Blues continued to knock at the door as a snap shot from Sunil Chhetri narrowly missed the goal moments later. Against the flow of the game, NorthEast created their first big opportunity of the game around the twenty-minute mark. Chaves opened up space for himself with a cheeky turn and let on fly drawing a brilliant save from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in the Bengaluru goal.
Barring the blip, Bengaluru continued their dominance with Raphael Augusto playing a key role in the midfield. The Brazilian almost set up Udanta with a golden opportunity to disrupt the deadlock, but the winger fired wide.
The Highlanders’ second chance of the match came about on the 35th minute. The ball fell kindly for Chaves after a goalmouth scuffle, but the Uruguayan failed to keep his effort on target. Gyan also managed to hit the back of the net seconds later, but it was ruled offside by the linesman.
With half-time drawing close, Chhetri got a shot on target after some amazing work by Nishu Kumar on the right flank. The shot seemed headed for goal but was kept out by Kai Heerings, guarding the near post. The two teams went into the break, with the scoreline reading 0-0.
Seven minutes after the restart, Gyan came close to giving the visitors the lead. Chaves carried the ball a long way before playing Gyan in with a smart chip. The Ghanaian cut in on his left foot, seemed to have Gurpreet beat, but the shot ended up hitting the crossbar.
Open chances were far and few in the second-half, with one of the best chances flying off the boots of Nishu from range. It was a cracking drive but was met with an equally stunning save by NorthEast custodian Subhasish Roy.
Cuadrat brought on Eugeneson Lyngdoh on the 82nd minute to try and engineer a late winner, but neither team managed to break the deadlock as both sides had to settle for a point each.
Hero of the Match – Raphael Augusto
Making his Bengaluru FC debut in the Hero ISL, Raphael Augusto produced a masterful display for the defending champions at the middle of the park, controlling the game with his clever passing and driving forward at every opportunity. He is the Hero of the Match.
Club Award – Bengaluru FC and NorthEast United FC
Maruti Suzuki Limitless Player of the Match – Asamoah Gyan
ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Nishu Kumar
Hero of the Match – Raphael Augusto