Kolkata: Mohun Bagan and East Bengal played out a drab goalless draw in the return leg I-League derby which was watched by just one fourth capacity crowd at Yuba Bharati Krirngan (YBK) here on Saturday.
The much-hyped return leg derby failed to live up to the expectation as only about 30,000 crowd turned up for the match, exactly two months after the same venue had witnessed ugly fan violence that had led to Mohun Bagan's ban only to be revoked later by the AIFF. There was no scope for any fan violence this time as most of them stayed away while the players of both the teams put up an uninspiring show at YBK where security arrangements were tight.
In fact, at some stands of the 120,000 capacity stadium, the Khaki-clad men outnumbered the spectators, something rarely noticed in any high profile derby. After Saturday's draw, East Bengal remained on the pole position in I-League table with 40 points from 20 matches, while Mohun Bagan were six from 15.
On paper, it was a battle of unequals with East Bengal perched on the top of the table against their bitter rivals, Mohun Bagan, fighting to avoid relegation at the bottom spot. But on the field it was a battle of equals with both teams wasting opportunities galore.
Mohun Bagan had the edge, missing one free kick in the first-half and they were also unlucky as Kerala referee Santosh Kumar refused to award a penalty kick after East Bengal defender Uga Okpara handled the ball inside the box.