FC Pune City, Chennaiyin FC settle for thrilling 1-1 draw
FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC settled for an entertaining 1-1 draw at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Stadium in Pune today. It was a high tempo match with a plethora of chances for both sides. A place at the top of the table was up for grabs for the winner but neither managed to break the deadlock.
Kostas Katsouranis put the hosts ahead in the 9th minute with a sublime finish. Elano Blumer missed a penalty a few minutes later but John Stiven Mendoza equalised for the visitors in the 58th minute to ensure that honours were shared. Chennai remain in second spot on 12 points and Pune on third with one less.
It was a pulsating first period with numerous chances on offer for both sides. Chennaiyin were first off the blocks through Mendoza who cut in from the right wing and took a swerving shot which Pune goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya barely managed to keep out. The hard working Dudu Omagbemi then had a chance for the hosts but failed to fire. Pune went into the lead after Israil Gurung put in a superb cross from the right. Katsouranis ran in from midfield and got on to the end of it and hit the target on the half volley.
Thereafter, Chennaiyin got a strong foothold in the game and began to pepper the Pune goal with shots. Elano floated a free-kick from the right beautifully across the Pune goal but Harmanjot Khabra headed it straight to Bhattacharya. A minute later, Daniele Magliochetti fouled Marco Materazzi in the box and a penalty was awarded to Chennai. Elano stepped up but hit his penalty well wide of the right post. Mendoza then fired a superb left footer from the midfield in the 21st minute which ricocheted off the inside of the post and went out. Bhattacharya was called upon to make another save from Mendoza a few minutes later.
Then, Elano’s curler from a free-kick from the left hit the crossbar and bounced back into play. Pune too had their share of missed chances with Dudu, Katsouranis and Davide Colomba being the culprits.
The second half wasn't as enthralling as the first. Chances didn't come in abundance but the tempo of the contest did not slow down. Chennai continued their dominance through most of the second session. They finally got the reward for their persistence when Elano hit a long ball forward for Mendoza. Dharmaraj Ravanan and Bruno Cirillo were found wanting as Balwant Singh and the Colombian combined to rip open the defence with the latter side footing the ball past Bhattacharya for the equaliser.
Pune now travel to Guwahati to play NorthEast United FC on November 15 while Chennai will take on league leaders Atlético de Kolkata a day earlier in Kolkata.
Hero of the Match: Stiven Mendoza (Chennaiyin FC) (watch here)
Swift Moment of the Match: Kostas Katsouranis (FC Pune City) (watch here)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Stiven Mendoza (Chennaiyin FC)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Arindam Bhattacharya (FC Pune City)