Goa and Bengal showed sporadic glimpses of brilliance before settling for a goalless draw in a Group A Santosh Trophy final round match at the GMC Stadium here today.
The draw takes Goa's tally to four points from two matches, while West Bengal continue to lead the table from Group A with seven points from three matches.
Goa, the stronger of the two sides on paper, never really took off as their build up play wasn't really of the highest standards and only a strong second half performance ensured that they still look one of the two favourites to qualify from Group A.
The first half saw both teams enjoy almost equal possession. Midfield possession was the order of the day with both teams hardly creating any chances. Bengal required a mistake from Goa goalkeeper Agnelo Gomes to make their first real foray into the Goan defence.
An innocuous looking back header from Melvin Lobo was spilled by Agnelo in the 11th minute. The ball fell at the feet of Bengal forward Moirangthem Basanta Singh, who slammed his shot wide of the post despite the fact that the goalkeeper was way off his line and he had only the last man Peter Carvalho to beat.
Goa's only clear chance in the first half came in the 39th minute when young Leander D'Cunha's shot sailed over the bar after the Bengal defence failed to clear a Liston Colaco free kick.
The second half started with much purpose with Goa being the more adventurous of the two teams.
Colaco's free kick three minutes after the breather went straight to the keeper. Goa's keeper then came to his side's rescue saving twice from close range -- first from a shot off Manvir Singh and then from a shot off Debasis Pradshan who smashed a piledriver from the right.
Bengal had their best chance in the 70th minute when Shaikhom Ronald Singh's cross from the left went just above the head of Manvir Singh.
It was all Goa in the last twenty minutes with Cajetan Fernandes, Liston Colaco and Brian Mascarenhas from the left creating havoc with their crosses, runs and through balls leaving the Bengal defence at sixes and sevens.
However, apart from a weak effort from Cajetan who suffered a brain fade when he entered the box, and a free kick towards the end that needed a double save from Bengal keeper Sankar Roy, Goa never came close to putting the ball in the back of the net.
(REOPENS SPD 25)
In another match, Services got the better of Chandigarh 1-0 win in the Group A final round league match at Tilak Stadium in Vasco.
Service, who controlled the match and had better exchanges scored in the 8th minute through a penalty by Francis Zountlunga.
Service, who lost their opening match against West Bengal, opened their account with three points from today's win, while Chandigarh after today's defeat have three points from three matches.