Delhi, Pune labour to 1-1 draw in ISL
New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) Delhi Dynamos and Pune FC played out a 1-1 draw in an Indian Super League (ISL) football match here on Thursday, in a result that hardly boosted the aspirations of the two struggling teams for a semi-final berth.
Forward Jesus Tato put Pune ahead against the flow of the game moments before the half-time whistle. Delhi equalised through Milan Singh in the 79th minute.
The stalemate extended host Delhi's extended their winless streak to five matches, four of them draws, keeping them sixth in the standings with seven points from six matches.
Pune's campaign is also similar, their latest draw being their fourth consecutive winless match, and are placed a rung below Delhi collecting six from as many matches.
Delhi's winless sequence of matches is partly due to their bungling offense that sparked concern from coach Gianluca Zambrotta.
The match proved his anxiousness wasn't unfounded as Delhi missed several chances. On occasions they hit the target they were foiled by superb shot-stopping by Pune custodian Edel Bete.
Delhi imposed themselves on the match early, creating an opening in the 13th minute at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.
Milan Singh, set up by Marceilinho and Florent Malouda fine interchange of passes, produced a shot that deflected off defender Gourmangi Singh but was still goalbound for custodian Edel Bete to tip the ball over the bar.
The Marceilinho-Malouda combination was ruling the midfield zone, dominating possession and dictating the flow of the game.
But Bete stood in their path as he was determined to block anything that tried to go past him, denying striker Richard Gadze nine minutes later when he spun quickly to shoot Malouda's intelligent pinged pass.
Cameronian Bete continued to be Delhi's main opposition as the hosts were comprehensive in their superiority over Pune.
Pune coach Antonio Habas was agitated and barked instructions constantly to reduce the plight of his overwhelmed players.
But the much-yearned opening goal remained elusive.
Pune got their first sight om goal in the 40th minute, forward Dramane Traore outjumped defender David Addy but sent his header way off target.
Delhi were stunned in the 45th minute when they conceded against the run of play.
Tato won an aerial battle with Souvik Chakraborty managing a feeble header to a cross that looped over a helpless goalkeeper Soram Poirei to nestle into the net.
Pune went into the break with the unlikely 1-0 lead.
Delhi's determination to score magnified after conceding and they resumed after the breather with more purpose.
But all their efforts came untuck against a fantastic Bete two minutes after play resumed, who dived to his right to palm away Ruben Gonzalez Rocha's curling effort into the bottom right corner.
But when Bete blinked, in the 53rd minute, Delhi were unable to capitalise. A rare miscalculation from Bete saw him collide with two retreating Pune defenders.
Th error allowed Marcelinho to put the ball into a gaping net but he managed the harder task of hitting the side-netting.
A frustrated Zambrotta introduced attackers Bruno Pelissari and Konsham Chinglensana Singh on the hour mark to improve their marksmanship.
Their perseverance finally paid dividends when Milan Singh shot through a maze of legs inside the box to beat Bete in the 79th minute.
Gadze, a constant threat throughout the match, then came closes to breaking the deadlock but his strong shot flashed wide, giving a scampering Bete respite.