Pune City clinch a point against Chennaiyin at home
FC Pune City drew 1-1 with Chennaiyin FC in the 2016 Hero Indian Super League as more than 9,000 fans thronged the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Balewadi on Sunday evening. Jeje Lalpekhlua gave Chennai the lead in the 28th minute before Anibal Rodriguez scored a wonderful free-kick to make it all square at full-time.
The visitors registered the first shot of the game in the second minute after Jeje chested a long ball from deep inside his own half to find Hans Mulder. The Dutchman managed to create a yard of space for himself before getting a shot away but Edel Bete was perfectly positioned in goal to make the save against his former side.
Both Pune and Chennai had goals disallowed soon after with Dramane Traore’s header not being counted as the ball had gone out of play prior to finding the Malian striker in the box, while Dudu’s finish beyond Bete was ruled out because of being flagged for offside.
The Super Machans took the lead in the 28th minute with an exceptional strike from Jeje surely going down as one of the contenders for goal of the season this year. After outmuscling Eduardo Ferreira to win a long ball, Jeje noticed Bete slightly off his line and came up with an audacious lob from outside the area to beat the Armenian goalkeeper and put his side ahead.
Pune had an opportunity of scoring an equaliser two minutes later after Sanju Pradhan headed Narayan Das’ cross from the left to set up Jesus Tato. The Spaniard’s attempt on goal was wayward though and failed to test Duwayne Kerr in Chennaiyin’s goal. The last chance of note in the opening period also went the Stallions’ way courtesy of a Jonatan Lucca shot from distance that sailed over the crossbar to keep it at 1-0 in Chennai’s favour heading into the break.
The first big chance of the second period fell to Chennai after a lapse at the back by Pune had put Dudu in on goal with just Bete to beat. Dudu struck the ball powerfully but Bete got strong hands to the ball to deflect it Mulder’s way. A retrieving Rahul Bheke just managed to apply enough pressure on the Dutchman to prevent him from doubling Chennai’s lead.
Traore did brilliantly to get past Jerry Lalrinzuala in the 54th minute before firing in a powerful effort on goal that John Arne Riise blocked to keep his side in the lead. The Stallions had another attempt on goal a minute later through Lucca, whose free-kick from a dangerous area went inches above the crossbar.
Traore was at it again in the 63rd minute when he controlled a Lucca pass at him brilliantly to create some room and shoot on the turn. The Malian’s effort from the edge of the box, however, flew fractions wide of the target.
Dudu should have put the game to bed in the 79th minute when Jeje played him clear on goal. The Nigerian couldn’t sort his feet out soon enough to take a clean shot on goal, allowing Pune’s defence to make the block and clear the danger.
The equaliser for Pune came three minutes later with substitute Anibal’s second touch of the ball. The Spaniard had barely been on the pitch for a few minutes when he decided to try his luck from a free-kick. His perfectly executed free-kick gave Kerr no chance in goal, making it 1-1 with eight minutes to go.
The Stallions’ last chance of the game also came from an Anibal free-kick one minute before full-time. This time, however, Kerr was well positioned in goal to make the save. Chennai’s final opportunity went to substitute Davide Succi, who failed to produce the power required to beat Bete as Pune’s search for their first home win of the season continues.
Club Award: Shared by both clubs
Maruti Suzuki Swift Moment of the Match: Anibal Rodriguez
DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Jerry Lalrinzuala
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Narayan Das
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Mehrajuddin Wadoo
Hero the Match: Jeje Lalpekhlua