Kolkata: In an unusual move, Pailan Arrows employed a nine-man defence to hold fancied East Bengal to a goalless draw in a round 10 I-League fixture at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Sunday.
This was the Arrows` fourth consecutive draw in the ongoing edition as they remained winless to be on six points. The result cost vital points for East Bengal as they could not close in on the gap against the leaders Churchill Brothers (23 points) and remained on third position with 20.
For East Bengal, the trio of Uga Ukpara, Penn Orji and Tolgay Ozbey took the field from the kick-off, dismissing reports that they would not recover in time for the match. In the first-half, Ozbey came close to scoring thrice but could not convert.
His first shot early in the outing went straight to rival goalkeeper Naveen Kumar while a header was also foiled by Naveen.
Ozbey`s best chance came late in the half when he broke free of the defence from the half line but was denied by Arrows stopper Ajay Singh in the box.
Changing over, East Bengal continued to attack but could not penetrate in the real sense with an allout defensive strategy by the local challengers.
In injury time, Mehtab Hosain was lucky not to be red-carded when he head-butted Arrows midfielder Sehnaj Singh off the ball.
Both Sehnaj and Mehtab were flashed the yellow cards. Arrows goalkeeper Naveen Kumar was adjudged the Man-of-the-match.