Mohun Bagan and DSK Shivajians wasted chances galore as the leaders were held to a goal-less draw, their first after a run of four wins, by a home side that seemed to have its nose slightly ahead in the I-league encounter here on Tuesday.
League leaders Mohun Bagan dropped points for the first time this I-League 2017 season.
The Shivajians made three changes to the side that only managed a draw against Churchill Brothers. Gouramangi Singh began in defense, while Shane McFaul dropped out. Rohit Kumar and Lallianzuala Chhangte both were relegated to the bench with Sairuat Kima and Sumeet Passi being introduced into the side. It was a 4-5-1 for Dave Rogers, who was adamant his side weren't in the zone in the last tie.
Bagan made just one change to the side that earned all three points in Chennai, installing Bikrmajit Singh Sr. for Shouvik Chakraborti. It was a 4-4-2 for the away side, who played in white.
The home side nearly had the best start within 15 seconds. The ball was zipped to Kim Song Yong on the edge of the box. The North Korean attacker, looking to score his third goal in as many games, saw his shot beat an advancing Debjit Majumder. However, luckily for Sanjoy Sen's team, the ball skimmed the far post before heading out for a goal kick.
Jerry Mawihminghthanga went into the book for simulation in the box. Kim went close again to open the Reds' account in the 23rd minute, with an acute header on target which was parried away lightly by Bagan's number one. Jeje Lalpekhlua lashed a shot in the 34th minute after a headed cut-back by Katsumi Yusa. The Indian striker however, saw his shot deflected by a last-ditch tackle.
The Shivajians nearly took the lead in the 40th minute, when Kim shot at goal with his right foot. The shot rebounded off the post and was quickly capitalised on by Quero who could only hit it high and wide.
Rogers' side came out in the second half bristling. Upping the tempo with Chhangte's introduction who almost ruffled the back of the net with a low drive from within the box, which Majumder palmed away low to his right for a corner.
The Reds continued their ascendancy and had the ball in the back of the net in the 58th minute from a Quero corner, but the referee spotted an infringement by goal scorer Kolunija.
Chhangte was the centre of attention yet again when Kim headed the ball back across the penalty area for the dimunitive striker to have a crack at. However, the striker could only strike feebly from eight yards out, resulting in a comfortable save for Majumder.
In the 77th minute, Subasish Bose let a stunner rip from within the penalty box, after capitalizing on a Sony Norde cross, but the left-back's piledriver rebounded off the far post and travelled along the length of the goal line before being cleared away by the Shivajians' defense.
A second chance would soon follow barely 120 seconds later. Yusa received the ball form a Duffy cross, but the Japanese attacker's shot was palmed away by Anganba.
The match ended with scorelines at a null for either side as Kim headed over in added time from a Quero cross. With this result Bagan surrendered their cent percent record in the league. They now lead second placed East Bengal by three points. The Shivajians sit in 6th on the table with five points having played a game more than those around him.