BENGALURU, Oct 21: Defending champions Bengaluru FC were held to a goalless draw by a spirited NorthEast United FC in their opening game of the Indian Super League (ISL) Season 6 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Monday.
Debuts were handed out to several new signings, including Ghanaian World Cupper Asamoah Gyan, Raphael Augusto and Ashique Kuruniyan, but the teams couldn’t be separated at the end of 90 minutes in what was a riveting contest. Bengaluru got off the blocks quickly as Kuruniyan announced his arrival with a great solo run from the left-back position in the 15th minute. He beat three players on his way into the box but shot wide of the mark.
NorthEast United were pinned to their own half in the early stages but were the first to have a shot on target. Collecting a layoff from Gyan, Uruguayan Martin Chaves dribbled past Juanan and forced a diving save from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in the 21st minute.
A few minutes later, Augusto split the Highlanders’ defence with an exquisite pass that released Udanta into the box but the Indian winger failed to test the goalkeeper with a wayward shot from a promising position.
The game opened up after the break as both teams started finding openings.
Coach Carles Cuadrat brought Eugeneson Lyngdoh on with less than 10 minutes to go as Bengaluru tried to find a late winner, but the NorthEast defence did well to close the gaps and frustrate the hosts to pick up a point. – IANS