Kolkata's Mohammedan Sporting qualified for the next edition of the I-League (2013-14) after they were held to a goalless draw by Kolkata's Bhawanipore FC in their penultimate League match of the final phase of the 2nd Division League being held in Bangalore.
After playing 9 matches and bagging 18 points, Sporting, who sit at the top of the table, are back in the top tier after a gap of four years. The centenary club last played in India's premier club competition in the 2008/09 season.
Bhawanipore - 14 points from 9 matches - stay third behind Rangdajied United who are on 16 points playing the same number of matches.
Bhawanipore will now have to win their match against Mumbai Tigers and hope that Mohammedan beat Rangdajied. A draw for the Meghalaya side will mean that the side who finishes with superior goal difference goes through, as the two cannot be separated on head-to-head count.
Bhawanipore's Hudson Lima Silva was everywhere in the initial exchanges of the stalemate. The Brazilian made early inroads inside the rival box, and one such run earned Bhawanipore the first corner of the match.
Sporting had their moments too early on. In the 5th minute, Younes Baltham's backheel set Jerry Zirsingha in the clear, but Debjit Mazumder pulled off a brilliant save to keep Jerry's effort at bay.
A riveting contest from the first whistle, both the Kolkata outfits started creating more and more chances as the half wore on. But profligacy cost both. Younes and Alfred Jaryan missed couple of gilt-edged opportunities. For Bhawanipore Lima and Jose Ramires Barreto spurned a few.
Post the half-time interval, the tempo seemed to die down a little. Goalmouth action dried up and the battle shifted to the middle of the pitch.
Both the coaches introduced fresh legs in order to change the complexion of the game but the match ended goalless.