PUNE: Pune FC were held to a goalless draw by struggling Sporting Clube de Goa with a 1-1 scoreline at the Balewadi Sports Complex in a Hero I-League game on Saturday evening.
Thongkhosiem Haokip’s opener in the 55 th minute of the game was cancelled out Victorino Fernandes in the 67 th minute.
The result takes Pune FC to the second spot with 12 points, while Sporting Goa, following six games this season so far, are yet to win a game.
Before the game, the two teams were separated by nine positions and 12 goals, but little did that show on the field as the Goans managed to thwart the home team’s attack and put in a good show only to walk away with a 1-1 draw.
The first piece of action did not come in until the 11th minute when Victorino Fernandes’ shot was aimed straight into Amrinder Singh’s hands. Minutes later a hoofed ball fell in Boimah Karpeh’s stride with only the keeper to beat. The out-rushing Amrinder closed all the angles for the striker forcing him to take a shot, which was brushed aside by the keeper and had to be cleared off the line by Mathew Gonsalves for a corner.
The battle was dominated predominantly in the midfield as the players were in no mood to lose possession. A cynical foul after a feisty half of verbal and physical exchanges between the two culminated in a cynical foul from Boimah on Dhanpal which saw him being booked.
After a rather drab first half, the half-time pep talk seemed by the coaches seemed to have invigorated both sets of players. The home team had only one thing on their mind – attack! Their attacking mantra bore fruit just 8 minutes into the second half. Arata found the ball at the half line and ran straight at the defenders.
The Goans failed to throw a defender at him and after running a good 30-35 yards the Indian international neatly threaded the ball towards young Nikhil Kadam. With the keeper rushing towards him, he could have easily gone for glory, but instead decided to unselfishly square it towards Haokip who obliged by tapping the ball into the net for a goal.
The Goans were not willing to go down without a fight as they took the game to their opposition. The goal appeared to have brought the visitors out of their slumber. After two unsuccessful attempts on goal, the Goans were finally able to find the net in the 66th minute. Their substitute Beevan D’Mello’s defense splitting ball fell into Victorino Fernandes’ stride who calmly slotted the ball past the out-rushing keeper into the net.
The goal seemed to have sapped out the confidence of the home team as they were pushed on the back-foot. The Flaming Oranje opened all their floodgates and charged towards the Pune goal on every possible occasion. They were nearly rewarded on two separate occasions. Both of them ended in a scramble in the 18-yard box which saw bodies flying as the home team only barely avoided the ball from flying into the net.
The visitors would consider themselves unlucky not to have come away with their first win of the campaign. Pune FC sit in the No 2 position after 7 games and the Goans leapfrogged Bharat FC to the No 10 position.
Hero of the Match – Amrinder Singh.