Resilient Pune hold high-flying Bengaluru to draw
The Blues had previously won five on the trot.
FC Pune City stopped Bengaluru FC from registering a record run of six consecutive victories in the Hero Indian Super League as they settled for a 1-1 draw at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru, on Friday.
Bengaluru FC had matched Chennaiyin FC’s five-match winning run of 2015 and were a match away from creating a record of their own. However, Sarthak Golui’s goal in the 20th minute gave Pune the advantage, while Miku ensured Bengaluru got at least a point with the equaliser in the 75th minute.
Watch: Bengaluru FC 1-1 FC Pune City highlights
Bengaluru FC have already qualified for the semi-finals and continue to top the group with 34 points from 16 matches. A point may not have been enough for second-placed Pune City (29 points) to secure qualification for the playoffs but their coach Ranko Popovic can't be too unhappy how things panned out on the night.
Bengaluru FC started the first half in a commanding fashion but 20 minutes into the game they found themselves a goal behind against the run of play. The Pune goal came after Bengaluru FC right back Rahul Bheke's poor clearance fell kindly for Marcelinho who then made a darting run into the box before squaring the ball for his strike partner Emiliano Alfaro to have a strike at goal. But he instead of putting his foot through, laid it off for Golui to do the rest.
The home side enjoyed 60 percent of the possession in the first 45 minutes, and even after going a goal down they continued in the same fashion but failed to create clear-cut chances to go level.
After the restart, Bengaluru FC, who fielded a full-strength team, kept knocking on Pune City's goal and the pressure finally came to tell just with a quarter of the game left to be played. Substitute Semboi Haokip, who had come on to replace Lenny Rodrigues, won the ball in the Pune City box and crossed the ball at the near post for Miku to volley in his 12th goal of the season.
Just minutes after losing their lead, Pune had a great chance to regain the lead. Marcelinho’s reverse pass on the edge of the box put Diego Carlos through on goal. With just the goalkeeper to beat, the Brazilian took too much time to get his shot away and Gurpreet Singh was on his toes to mop up the danger.
In the frantic last ten minutes, both sides tried to look for a winner but the deadlock remained till the final whistle.
Published: Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:56 AM IST