The Pune crowd saw what could be termed as the best 90 minutes of the current Hero I-League season ended in a 2-2 stalemate at the Balewadi Stadium tonight (February 5, 2017). Holicharan Narzary (41′, 55′) scored on either side of the half-time but Bengaluru FC came back strongly from two strikes by Sunil Chhetri (74′) and Salam Ranjan Singh (90’+1′) to earn a point from DSK Shivajians’ grasp.
The day started for DSK Shivajians with a big boost in the form of returning Goal Keeper Subrata Paul, who came back from injury to start under the woodwork.
With Sandesh Jhingan out injured and John Johnson left out as a result of suspension in the previous game against Churchill Brothers FC Goa, Blues gaffer Roca went for Salam Ranjan and Keegan Pereira at the defence with L Ralte and Nishu sitting out in a 4-3-3 formation.
The Pune outfit began with a dominant display right from the start pegging back the defending champions into their own box most of the time. Blues custodian Amrinder Singh was called into action very early in the game when Passi’s low cross into the box was met by an onrushing Narzary. A minute later another attempted to cross this time from Quero, came off the crossbar as Bengaluru defence completely looked out of sorts.
In the 27th minute, Quero took a shot from a distance that just looped over goal while at the other end Eugeneson almost put the visitors ahead after being brilliantly set up by Vineeth.
At the half hour mark, Another of the many Quero attempt came off the Post with Amrinder out of position as Blues survived the scare. However DSK Shivajians relentless pressure on Blues defence finally gave in a fruitful result, In the 41st-minute Narzary taking advantage of a Keegan-Juanan mix-up ran ahead of them with the ball before slotting it past an onrushing Amrinder to make it 1-0.
Ten minutes after the break, Narzary slotted in another goal to make it 2-0. An over the top through ball from Milan Singh saw Narzary run clear on goal as he slotted the ball calmly through the legs of Amrinder.
Minutes after the hour-mark, Shivajians almost made it 3-0 when a low cross from the left saw Kim Seong Yong go for the ball with speed, however, the looped ball in the air is somehow challenged for by Amrinder, earning a free-kick for being impeded.
Looking at their third league defeat and fourth overall, Blues coach brought in a slew of changes as Alwyn George, Daniel replaced Eugeneson and Udanta to spark some pace at their attacking third. With the game entering its last fifteen minutes, Captain Chhetri pulled one back for the visitors to make it his third goal in as many games. Lurking around the left of the box Chhetri did well to control a long ball from the middle before smartly sending the ball past an onrushing Paul to make it 2-1.
The goal brought the blues back into the life as they began controlling the game more often looking for that elusive equaliser while coming close to it number of times. Finally, in the 90th minute, Chhetri did well inside the box before cutting it for strikers however the ball was deflected off for a corner. The Resulting corner saw Salam Ranjan Singh rising the highest to head the ball into the box to send the travelling blues fans into frenzy.Published 05 Feb 2017, 22:50 IST