Bangalore league champions HAL Sports Club came up with a creditable display to hold formidable Mohun Bagan in a first round match of the 11th ONGC National Football League in Bangalore on Saturday.
HAL, who found a place in the league after Second Division champions Tata Fotball Academy pulled out, were able to pick a point from the match mainly because of some brilliant work under the bar by goalkeeper Gumpe Rime, who was rightly adjudged Man of the Match.
Much was expected from the Federation Cup champions, at the Bangalore football stadium, but nothing went right for their strikers on Saturday afternoon.
HAL, who last played in the premier league in 2002-03, should have been a goal to the good in the first half but Dulal Biswas came up with a goal-line save following a stiff right-footer by mercurial forward Kuttymani.
The Kolkata team was also unlucky on a couple of occasions, but the closest shave the Bangalore team experienced was when Baichung Bhutia hit the left upright from hand-shaking distance following a cross from the right flank.
Minutes before, a Bhutia header missed the far post while skipper and Brazilian striker Jose Barreto's unexpected scissors kick was been tipped over the bar by Rime.
HAL defender Mohan Raj received a yellow card for a hard tackle on substitute Mehtab Hossain.