Chennai: The Southern derby between Chennaiyin FC and Kerala Blasters ended in a hard-fought goalless stalemate as both teams now face a bleak play-off chances in the Indian Super League.
The southern giants, desperate for a win at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Thursday, could not score a goal despite fashioning several chances to do so. With points split now, Chennaiyin climb to eighth in the league with five points from nine matches, while Kerala remain a spot above with eight points.
The home team started the high-voltage fixture with clear intent and created a couple of chances within the first six minutes. First, Raphael Augusto got the better of Halicharan Narzary on the right wing and fizzed a ball across which could not be turned in by Issac Vanmalsawma. Three minutes later, Andrea Orlandi headed a cross from Issac straight to Dheeraj Singh in the Kerala goal.
However, the game soon turned scrappy with neither team able to fashion a clear cut opportunity and possession changing hands frequently.
Kerala, for all their industry in midfield, could not really threaten the home team’s defence while Chennaiyin did have some half-chances. Jeje Lalpekhlua sent a shot high after pouncing on a loose ball inside the Kerala penalty box while Thoi Singh stung the palms of Dheeraj with a half-volley from outside the box in the 30th minute.
Thoi had a brilliant chance three minutes later when he won the ball in midfield and played Jeje in behind the defence....