Dishing out a strong performance, the national football federation developmental side India Arrows held hosts Neroca to a goalless draw in an I-League match, at Imphal on Tuesday. (More Football News)
The Arrows defended stoutly to deny NEROCA on several occasions at the Khuman Lampak Stadium.
NEROCA, with the draw, have climbed up to the eighth spot on the table with 12 points from as many games while Arrows are at the rock bottom with eight points from 11 matches.
The first half of the match failed to produce much action as NEROCA players found it difficult to break a resilient Arrows defence.
Indian Arrows held 52 percent of ball possession in the first half but failed to find the net in spite of having seven shots out of which only one was on target and that came from a free-kick by Ayush Adhikari in the 42nd minute.
But the shot was directed straight at the NEROCA captain Marvin Devon Phillip in the goal who blocked it easily.
The first half witnessed a lot of battles in the midfield, resulting in fewer goal scoring opportunities.
The first major opportunity of the match came in the 49th minute from a long throw for the Arrows. Vikram Partap got a clear header but it lacked direction and went over the goal.
NEROCA then got a chance to break the deadlock when its winter transfer, Imran Khan, flicked the ball into the Arrows box and second-half substitute Ronald Singh latched on to it, putting it past the Arrows keeper, only to be denied by a goal-line clearance.
Arrows were also making more progress in the match as the NEROCA defence was opening up time and again.
In the 62nd minute, Ayush Adhikari's perfect through ball found an unmarked Suranjit Singh but the young winger's shot went past the far post.
In the 80th minute, the hosts got a great chance when Ghanaian, Philip Adjah came up with a long-distance shot but an acrobatic Jongte in Arrows goal denied him a goal.
The last few moments of the match belonged to the young Arrows.
In the 82nd minute, Rohit Danu was one-on-one with Marvin Devon Phillip, but his strike was brilliantly saved by the NEROCA captain.
The last major action of the game came in 90+6th minute, when a through ball by Ricky Shabong found Vikram Pratap on the left flank and the latter came up with a low shot on the near post but was again denied by the NEROCA keeper.