I-L: Pune FC held to a 1-1 draw by Sporting Goa
Pune FC missed a glorious opportunity of gaining maximum points and sharing points with Sporting Clube de Goa after a 1-1 draw in an I-League Round-17 encounter at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune on Sunday.
The hosts had many chances in the second half which saw them striking the woodwork apart from having their attempts cleared in front of the goal on several occasions.
In the end analysis, it all boiled down to medio Beevan D'Mello (39th min) opportunistic opener for Sporting in the first half before striker Thongkhosiem Haokip (56th min) equalised for Pune FC.
With a point each, both teams held on to their respective positions; Pune FC (25 pts) occupy third place on the table while Sporting Goa (28pts) are second.
Coach Mike Snoei made five changes to the team from the last match handing starts to Zohmingliana Ralte, Salam Ranjan Singh, Srikanth Ramu, Fanai Lalrempuia and Thongkhosiem Haokip.
Pune FC had the first close chance of the match on the quarter hour mark. Playmaker Douhou Pierre and Anthony combined down the left before the winger sent in a low cross into the box.
Lalrempuia, who rushed inside the box saw his left-footed attempt go wide.
A minute later, Haokip did well to shield Douhou's pass before creating space to shoot on the edge of the box. However, his attempt went straight to the Sporting custodian.
Pune FC continued pushing up and couple minutes later Lalrempuia had his header saved by the keeper on defender Calum Angus' floated freekick.
At the other end, Sporting restricted to counter attacks, took the lead against the run of play. Beevan capitalised on a slip by Ralte on the left before running towards the box.
Beating challenges off a couple of defenders, Beevan scored from the edge of the box.
The hosts went into the break trailing by a goal.
The second half saw Pune FC push even further up in search of then equaliser. Nine minutes in, winger Gabriel Fernandes dribbled his way into the box from the right, but saw his powerful low drive go wide at the far post.
Two minutes later, Pune FC equalised through striker Haokip. After Gabriel was brought down while dribbling on the left, Anthony picked up the loose ball and floated a cross in.
An unmarked Haokip timed his jump to perfection and headed home to send the home fans into frenzy.
At the other end, playmaker Kalu Ogba went close but shot over from inside the box after striker Boima Karpeh had set him up.
Pune FC kept on dominating proceedings and kept the Sporting defense on its toes.
Four minutes past the hour mark, Pune FC almost took the lead. On a counter, Douhou sent Gabriel into the clear on the right who sent in a perfect cross for Anthony on the run.
Anthony controlled the ball, but was unlucky as his volley from the edge of the box came off the crossbar.
Pune FC kept on pushing ahead but Sporting defended deep and held on for the draw.
Man of the Match: Anthony D'Souza (Pune FC)
(Posted on 16-02-2014)