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I-League: Pune FC rallies to hold Sporting Clube

Pune FC 2-2 Shillong Lajong FC

Pune FC 2-2 Shillong Lajong FC

In a game that saw too many twists and late drama, Pune FC drew 2-2 with Sporting Clube de Goa at the Balewadi Stadium here.

Having drawn their opening games, home team Pune FC and visitors Sporting Clube de Goa were eager to register their first win of the campaign.

Sporting, making their comeback to the I-League’s top tier, had lost to Pune FC 4-0 earlier, but on Friday they looked the hungrier of the two sides, as the match got off to a flying start.

In second minute, Sporting’s Anthony D’Sauza fed Mackroy from left flank and the lanky stiker hit the post from two yards out.

The home team responded with some moves of their own, with Arata twisting and turning to bother the sporting defence. Pune FC were content with some blunt attacks, although, it was evident that they were missing services of influential forward, Keita.

Sporting were awarded a debatable penalty in the 26th minute, when Games Moga went down to what looked like a legitimate tackle.

Kalu Ogba converted the resulting penalty, sending young PFC custodian Shahinlal Meloly the wrong way.

Pune FC responded strongly, and had few meaningful attacks, which had no outcome in terms of goals. Douhou Pierre was proving to be instrumental in PFC’s midfield as he provided some decisive passes on a number of occasions, but he lacked support from his team mates.

There were claims of Penalty in first injury time, when Pierre was fouled by Sporting captain Samananda Singh, but the referee waved the play on.

As the teams came out in the second half, it was the home side who dominated the play and threatened from the word go. Sporting were content to protect their lead and were reluctant to commit too many bodies upfront.

Jeje Lalpekhlua had a wonderful chance in the 63th minute to level the scores, but he scuffed his shots, with only keeper to beat.

As the game wore on, the home side committed more and more men forward, exposing their backline as a result. Sporting were quick to exploit the home side’s defensive frailties to double their advantage after 64th  minutes when Freiman Peixoto tapped in Moga’s low cross.

Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira used all three substitutions in quick succession to give the home side much needed presence in the offence.

And it immediately paid off in the 79th minute when Jeje Lalpekhlua brought the home side back into the match with a looping header, that deceived Sporting keeper Mederia.

They were in the ascendency by now and were pressing for the equaliser. And to the delight of the home crowd, Chika Wali nodded in an equaliser on 83 minutes.

As a result of their second consecutive stalemate, both the teams remain winless and have two point from as many games.


(AIFF Press Release)