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3-min read

ISL 2018/19: Delhi Dynamos Rue Missed Chances as FC Pune City Take Deserving Draw

It was Delhi who took the lead just before half-time courtesy a scorching strike from Rana Gharami, but Pune equalized with just minutes remaining thanks to substitute Diego Carlos de Oliveira.

Suyash Upadhyaya | News18 Sports

Updated:October 3, 2018, 10:27 PM IST
ISL 2018/19: Delhi Dynamos Rue Missed Chances as FC Pune City Take Deserving Draw
(Image: ISL)

New Delhi: FC Pune City spoilt Delhi Dynamos' party in their opening game of the season in front of the home crowd of over 10,000 at the JLN Stadium, as they went back with a point, the match ending 1-1.

It was Delhi who took the lead just before half-time courtesy a scorching strike from Rana Gharami, but Pune equalized with just minutes remaining thanks to substitute Diego Carlos de Oliveira.

Coach Josep Gombau had Delhi Dynamos line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Andrija Kaluderovic leading the lines. Former Pune City midfielder Marcos Tebar started in midfield with Bikramjit Singh while Nandha kumar and Lallianzuala Chhangte provided the width.

Pune City playing a 4-3-3 formation started brightly, with Ashique Kuruniyan finding a lot of space down the left flank. An early cross from the youngster almost found Emiliano Alfaro inside the box.

Delhi started brightly and had much of the possession in the early exchanges. The first chance came in the 11th minute, S Nandha Kumar giving the pass to Delhi's Serbian striker Kaluderovic, but his shot was held well by Pune goalkeeper Vishal Kaith.

Reflecting on the performance, Delhi coach Josep Gombau said, "I think right from the second half we controlled the game and we had our chances. We had the chance to score two or three goals before Pune got their goal," he said. "It was a good game to watch for the spectators, but I am not happy with the result.

"I'm happy with the effort of the players though, so I can say nothing to them about their effort.'

Kaluderovic had another great chance to give Delhi the lead in the 20th minute, when Narayan Das beat the Pune defense on the left flank and played an accurate pass to the Serbian striker, but he fluffed his lines from extremely close range.

Delhi suffered a blow in the 35th minutes, when Bikramjit Singh had to be stretchered off and was replaced by Vinit Rai, who was most recently involved in India's campaign at the SAFF Championship where the team lost in the final to Maldives.

But the hosts finally got their goal, and from an unlikely source. A 25-yard strike by centre-back Rana Gharami that left Pune's custodian Vishal Kaith rooted to the spot as it rifled into the top right hand corner of the net.

Delhi went into halftime the more confident side, and they continued that momentum into the second, dominating possession with Marcos Tebar pulling the strings in the middle of the park.

Ashique Kuruniyan though, was enterprising for Pune on the left flank, his constant driving runs and crosses keeping Delhi right-back Pritam Kotal, and centre-backs Michael Eugene Zuiverloon and Rana Gharami on their toes.

Delhi had the chance to double their lead when Nandhakumar released Romeo Fernandes down the right hand side. The winger cut the ball back in the penalty box, but Kaluderovic could not sort his feet out in time and his meek shot was blocked away by the Pune defenders.

In the 85th minute, Delhi's young left-winger Lallianzuala Chhangte picked up the ball from the left-flank and drove at the Pune defense. With the Pune centre-backs indecisive about who to mark, Chhangte found himself one on one with Vishal Kaith, but his shot went wide.

Delhi's wasted chances would come back to hurt them, as substitute Diego Carlos Oliveira picked up a loose ball on the left hand side and unleashed a shot across the face of goal, leaving Delhi custodian Francisco Roman Sanchez with no chance of saving it.

"The result is okay, I think in the first half we started well and had 2-3 chances to score a goal. But it was Delhi who scored a good goal right before half time.

"In the second half we played with a high press and tried to draw the match. It's true that Delhi had their chances and could have scored more goals, but on the basis of our first half performance we deserved that draw," FC Pune City coach Miguel Angel Portugal said.

The shoulders of the Delhi players slumped, surprised by how the ball had found its way past so many bodies.

In a last-ditch effort, young Indian striker Shubham Sarangi was brought on for Kaluderovic in extra time, but it was too late and the whistle blew without him getting a single touch of the ball, and both teams ended up sharing the spoils.

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| Edited by: Abhimanyu Sen
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