Bengaluru FC vs Dempo SC
Sunil Chhetri in action during Bengaluru FC opening ISL fixture against Dempo SCBengaluru FC's official Facebook page

An I-League match between Bengaluru FC and Dempo ended in a goalless draw despite both sides creating a fair number of chances at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.

Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri will certainly be kicking himself for missing a brilliant chance, in the form of a penalty, which would have sealed three points for his side in the opening fixture of the I-League.

Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood chose to start with more or less his regular team, with the likes of Sean Rooney and Robin Singh up front, Chhetri in midfield and Curtis Osanao and John Johnson in the heart of the defence.

Dempo boss Arthur Papas, on the other hand, opted to go with Holicharan Narzary up front supported by youngster Romeo Fernandes along with Mandar Rao Desai on the wings.

After a pretty harmless first 20 minutes, Dempo, who lost to Bengaluru FC in the Federation Cup final a few days ago, created the first chance of the game from a corner. Calum Angus managed to connect with Fernandes' excellent corner at the far post but the English defender's header was just wide of the target.

Fernandes' evening came to a premature end as he was forced off the pitch with an ankle injury after a couple of minutes, with Alwyn George coming in his stead.

Dempo, who dominated possession in the opening stages of the game, nearly conceded a penalty at the half hour mark after Rooney was brought down inside the box by Fulganco Cardozo. But the referee waved away protests from the home side as he signalled for play to continue.

Five minutes later, the home side breathed a sigh of relief as Holicharan Narzary fired straight at Lalthuammawia Ralte from the rebound after Jewel Raja's long range effort was spilled by the Bengaluru FC goalkeeper.

With only three minutes remaining in the first half, some good work from Robin Singh saw him evade past Cardozo and whip a cross into the box. Dempo goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani tried to collect the cross but he ended up pushing the ball towards Rooney, whose effort was just cleared off the goal line by Angus.

Bengaluru got a very good opportunity to take the lead at the stroke of halftime when they were awarded a penalty following Angus' foul on Rooney. But they failed to take advantage as Chhetri's meek spot-kick was saved by Laxmikant Kattimani.

After the break, both sides became very cautious and this resulted in the game becoming pretty boring for the neutrals.

The match, though, finally sprung back to life in the 68th minute as a sparkling run from substitute Alwyn George threatened the hosts defence. However, the move came to nothing in the end as the midfielder's final cross failed to find a white Dempo shirt.

At the other end, Rooney and Chhetri combined well in the 73rd minute in the opponents' defensive third but the latter's effort from outside box was well off target.

Dempo continued pushing for a winning goal in the closing stages of the game but Francis Fernandes and Lenny Rodrigues' long range efforts did not pose much of a threat for Ralte.

Finally, George had a brilliant chance to win the game for Dempo right at the death, but the young striker's effort, following an excellent ball from Francis Fernandes, sailed over the bar.