Hyderabad, Aug 3 (UNI) Hosts India and Turkmenistan were dead locked 0-0 at the end of first half in their last group-A encounter of the AFC Challenge Cup football tournament played at GMC Balayogi Stadium, Gachibowli here today.
India had the best chance in the first half in the 20th minute when star strikers Baichung Bhutia and Sunil Chetri with one-to-one passes entered the penalty area, but Bhutia, while receiving the ball, slipped in the rain-soaked ground along with Turkmenistan defender.
Bhutia, however, recovered and essayed shot, but it landed into the safe hands of the rival custodian.
Turkmenistan, on a counter attack a minute later, got a chance to take the lead, but their substitute midfielder Kuliyev muffed up the opportunity when his feeble attempt went into the safe hands of goalkeeper Subrata Paul.
India once again made a good attack, but failed to put finishing touches. After a solo from right and cross, Sunil from left, attempted a shot, but in the meelee the ball was stopped and the Indian midfielder's attempt was rebounded due to timely clearance by the Turkemenistan defender.
In the 35th minute, Bhutia and Sunil, a formidable duo with criss-cross and array of defence-splitting passes reached the opponent territory, but Sunil, who latched on to the pass from Bhutia, could not shoot the ball home, as his pile-driver was saved neately by the opponent goalkeeper Shamuradov.
Towards the end of half-time, Turkmenistan striker Atayev's long-ranger sailed over the cross bar.
Tomorrow's Group-B schedule: North Korea Vs Myanmar at Gachibowli Stadium Nepal Vs Sri Lanka at Lalbahadur stadium UNI XR KVV RAR AKJ KP2130