DELHI: A last-gasp goal from FC Pune City earned them a point against hosts Delhi Dynamos FC, as the match ended 1-1 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The Stallions started as the better of the two sides causing a few problems for the Delhi defence, with winger Ashique Kuruniyan being a menace down the left wing with his pace and skill. As the game progressed, Delhi started imposing themselves and created their first real chance in the 18th minute when Narayan Das forced an excellent save off Vishal Kaith from the edge of the box.
The Dynamos were enjoying a good spell down the left flank and created another big chance, a few minutes later, when Lallianzuala Chhangte managed to get behind the Pune defence. The youngster delivered a dangerous ball across the face of goal, but both Andrija Kaludjerovic and Nandhakumar Sekar failed to convert the resulting shot.
In the 44th minute, the hosts finally broke the deadlock via a stunning strike from Rana Gharami. The defender picked up the ball 30-yards away from goal and let fly. It sailed past a surprised Kaith in goal before arrowing into the top corner – a truly remarkable finish. This proved to be the last noteworthy piece of action from the first 45 minutes.
The first major opportunity of the second half fell to the hosts when Pritam Kotal was released down the right flank after a well-timed pass from Gianni Zuiverloon. The captain managed to cut the ball back for Andrija Kaludjerovic, who was unmarked in the penalty box. However, the forward was unable to get a proper connection on the ball as the Stallions cleared their lines.
Towards the last quarter of the game, Pune started piling on the pressure and nearly equalised when Jonathan Vila forced a brilliant save from Francisco Dorronsoro with a ferocious shot from the edge of the penalty box. Delhi could have sealed the tie during the final stages when Chhangte burst through the Pune defence, but was unsuccessful in beating Kaith on goal.
That missed chance would go on to bite the hosts a few minutes later when the Stallions finally equalised, courtesy of a fantastic goal from Carlos. Neat link-up play from the Brazilian and Emiliano Alfaro inside the penalty box resulted in the substitute piercing through Delhi’s defence before unleashing a low drive into the bottom corner. The Lions frantically went in search of the winner, but time was not by their side as they had to ultimately settle for a point.