ISL 2017-18: Jamshedpur FC hold NorthEast United FC as new season's goalless stalemate continues
NorthEast United FC gaffer Joao Carlos Pires de Deus played Seminlen Doungel and Odair on the flanks with Marcinho playing just behind striker Danilo.
Guwahati: The goalless stalemate in the fourth edition of Indian Super League (ISL) continued for a second successive day as debutant Jamshedpur FC held NorthEast United FC to a 0-0 draw on Sunday.
On the opening day, defending champions ATK and last year's runners-up Kerala Blasters FC could not break the deadlock in Kochi.
To kick off their campaign, both the teams were configured in a 4-2-3-1 formation at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.
Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell fielded both Sameehg Doutie and Trinidade Goncalves along with Izu Azuka as the lone striker upfront.
NorthEast United FC gaffer Joao Carlos Pires de Deus played Seminlen Doungel and Odair on the flanks with Marcinho playing just behind striker Danilo. Lalrindika Ralte played in the central midfield.
The home team was on the offensive from the word go and looked to build pressure in the opponent's box.
NorthEast could have got their opening goal as early as in third minute, but Marcinho fluffed a very easy chance when he hit on high after being on a one on one with goalkeeper Subrata Paul.
Coppell's men looked to get their act together as the match progressed.
There was a massive opportunity for the visitors to go ahead on the brink of half time. Izu Azuka tried to side foot the ball into the net past Rehnesh TP, but the NEUFC custodian side-footed it back out of the box.
NorthEast started the second half with equal intensity and hunger. Odair came close to scoring in the 55th minute from a corner but Paul denied him.
In the next three minutes, Danilo found himself one on one with Paul following a through ball from Lalrindika Ralte, but his shot went wide.
Then came the first red card of the season as Andrey Bikey, playing against his old club NorthEast United, was given the marching orders.
The NEUFC though could not make use of the numerical advantage.
Four minutes were added to the regulation time and there was another good chance for NorthEast United as Nazray cut it back to Paez. No defender was marking him, but still Paez could not find the target.
He scored two goals in 21 games in Madrid before joining Milan last season on loan, scoring seven goals in 39 appearances for the northern Italian outfit.
With "no clarity" about SC East Bengal's participation in the 14-team tournament slated to begin in August third week, IFA secretary Joydeep Mukherjee said as per the rulebook the red-and-gold brigade would be relegated to the lower division.
The AFC confirmed that the playoff and group stage (South) matches of the second-tier continental club competition will be held in the Maldives.