I-League: Pune FC hold Dempo, jump into second place
Mapusa (Goa), Nov 27 (IANS) Pune FC jumped to the second place in I-League football with a come from behind 1-1 draw against Dempo in the 11th round at the Duler Stadium here Wednesday.
Striker Riga Mustapha (51st) got the equaliser for Pune FC, four minutes after veteran Brazilian playmaker Beto (47th) gave Dempo the lead.
With the draw, Pune FC finished their Goan trip with two points. Pune FC also drew 1-1 with Salgaocar in the last round.
Pune FC now are levelled with Salgaocar at second place while Bengaluru FC are on top.
Pune FC Coach Mike Snoei made just one change to the squad as defender Calum Angus returned to the starting line-up replacing Salam Ranjan Singh.
The game began with Dempo pushing forward but they were denied by Pune custodian Amrinder Singh who produced couple of saves in the first ten minutes.
At the other end, midfielder Arata Izumi created Pune FC’s first chance but saw his attempt blocked by the Dempo defense.
Thereafter, both teams settled into the game and began constructing moves. Pune FC once again went close, this time though striker Riga, whose attempt was blocked by defender Selwyn Fernandes.
With both teams failing in the final third with their finishing, the first half ended goalless.
The second half was a completely different story. Dempo took the lead almost instantly – two minutes in – as Beto pounced on the loose ball and scored after striker Holicharan Narzary slipped in a pass from the right past defender Srikanth Ramu to catch the defense off guard and allow the Goan medio score ahead of a valiant attempt by Anas Edathodika.
However, Pune FC pulled back a goal within four minutes. Playmaker Douhou Pierre worked up a square pass to Riga 30-yards out. The striker did well to control, move past a couple of defenders and slot home the equaliser, but not before Dempo custodian Laxmikant Kattimani got a hand to it.
Two quick goals saw both teams pressing each other hard. As the half progressed, Pune FC continued to push forward however they kept loosing too many balls in the midfield.
In the final ten minutes, Pune FC once again went close. Douhou picked up a lose ball on the right before moving up and squaring off to Riga. However, the striker’s left footed grounder went wide.
Into the final minutes of the game, Pune FC survived two close calls. First substitute Alwyn George – on for Clifford Miranda – headed Beto’s cross onto the post. And later in injury time, medio Peter Carvalho agonisingly headed wide in front of goal from Beto’s corner. Pune FC, however, held on for the third draw of the season.