Odafa brace forces Pune FC to split points
Pune FC will rue this result for a long time. After taking a 2-0 lead in the 76th minute, the home side allowed Mohun Bagan to walk into the game and draw the Round IX match 2-2 in the I-League Football Championship at the Balewadi Stadium on Sunday.
The result took Pune FC to 11 points from 8 matches while Bagan moved to 12 matches from 9 matches.
Chika Wali and Izumi Arata had put Pune FC on the high pedestal and they remained in control till the 76th minute before Bagan's marquee player Odafa Okolie struck twice in a space of seven minutes to hand the struggling Kolkata team the crucial one point.
Pune FC went ahead in the 30th minute through Chika Wali who tapped in after Douhou Pierre's shot hit the wall. The second goal was scored by Izumi Arata. Douhou found James Moga on the right crossed the box only for Arata to bulged the net.
But Pune lost the plot when Odafa came into his own. In the 77th minute, Odafa surged into the box from the left. He unleashed a shot which deflected off Wali into the Pune net.
That was the opening Bagan was looking for. Okolie made it 2-2 in the 84th minute. His quick turn caught the Pune defence on the wrong foot and Odafa slotted home.
Earlier, Pune FC dominated the proceedings in the early part of the first half. In the very second minute, Karma Tsewang sent a long ball to James Moga but the latter fumbled.
Subhash Singh had a chance but his strike went wide in the ninth minute. Khanthang Paite had released the ball for Subhash who caught the Bagan defence napping. He had the time to take a touch or two but hurried into his shot.
Subhash had yet another chance when the ball fell at his feet from a throw-in. He did well to step over and fox Nirmal Chhetri, but his left-footed shot went awry.