Imphal: Hosts TRAU FC played out a goalless but entertaining draw with Punjab FC in an I-League fixture at the Khuman Lampak Main Stadium at Imphal on Saturday.
TRAU FC head coach Dimitris Dimitriou seemed happy to stick to his side's new-found resilience and made just one change with Ghanaian forward Kofi Tetteh starting upfront ahead of Krishnananda Singh in a classic 4-3-3 formation.
On the contrary, Yan Law made a catalogue of changes to his Punjab FC line-up that dropped points away in Aizawl. Teah Baysah Dennis returned to the starting eleven, as did Cavin Lobo in the middle of the park.
Dipanda Dicka, who has played an instrumental role as a super-sub this season, was also given the nod to start.
Punjab FC started dominating the match with possession from the first whistle.
In the ninth minute, Lobo earned a freekick for Punjab after he was brought down by a TRAU player. Sanju took a shot and Danilo headed it just above the bar.
TRAU created their first chance of the game in the 17th minute but that was not enough to threaten the Nepal captain Kiran Limbu.
In the 30th minute, Sanju's shot got blocked by the opposition custodian which could have broken the deadlock.
In the 37th minute, TRAU made a counter-attack but Abhishek Dash couldn't find the back of the net as his shot went way above the bar as the first half ended with a 0-0 deadlock.
TRAU lost the possession early in the second half as the warriors launched a series of attacks from both the flanks with some threatening passes into the box but none of them got capitalised.
In the 62nd minute, Punjab FC coach Law brought birthday boy Girik Khosla on to the pitch in search of the opening goal.
The hosts showed some quality with their attacks and suddenly looked like the better side but weren't able to break the strong defensive line of the warriors.
With each passing minute, Punjab FC showed signs of desperation for the opening goal and in the 85th minute, skipper Sanju Pradhan made an optimistic effort from 25 yards out which was whiskers away from perfection.
Honors were eventually shared at the full time.
Punjab FC will now fly to Srinagar to face Real Kashmir on 10 January.
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Updated Date: Jan 04, 2020 20:37:12 IST