A host of missed chances cost the Bengaluru FC U-18s dear as they were held to a goalless draw by Kerala Blasters FC U-18s in their Group C opener of the U-18 Youth League Final Phase at the Meghalaya Football Association Turf, in Shillong, on Wednesday.
A missed penalty in the second period from skipper Ajay Chettri meant the game ended in a stalemate, despite the young Blues dominating majority of the proceedings throughout both halves. Earlier, coach John Kenneth Raj handed starts to Naorem Roshan Singh, Namgyal Bhutia, Biswa Darjee and Lalengzama Vangchhia along with Ajay, who joined the team from Kolkata, where they were in action the Second Division League.
While both sides traded blows in the opening exchanges, Bengaluru managed to up their game in the later stages and continued their dominance heading into the second half. Kenneth Raj’s boys, who controlled proceedings despite heavy rain in the second half, had the best chance to break the deadlock right at the hour mark.
Playmaker Lalengzama was fouled inside the box by former BFC boy Lins Poulose, prompting the referee to point to the spot. However, skipper Ajay who stepped up to take the penalty, hammered it against the crossbar handing Kerala a lifeline.
With the rain pouring down as the half progressed, the Blue Colts managed to hold on to possession better than their counterparts and created more chances. However, despite constant pressure, Bengaluru were unable to break down the stubborn Kerala defence, as the game ended goalless.
The result means Bengaluru (1 point) are joint second in Group-C behind leaders DSK Shivajians (3pts) who beat Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools 2-1 in the second game of the day. The BFC U-18s will now face DSK Shivajians in their next game on Friday, May 18 at the same venue.