Pune stay on top after 1-1 draw with Goa
FC Pune City held FC Goa to a 1-1 draw in the 2015 Hero Indian Super League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda in front of an 18,521-strong crowd. Both goals came in the second half with Roger Johnson putting into his own net to give Goa the lead before a Eugeneson Lyngdoh drew parity for the men in orange and purple stripes.
Mandar Rao Dessai took FC Goa’s first shot at goal five minutes into the game. The Goan side were a whisker away from taking the lead five minutes later when Leo Moura split open the Pune’s defence. Thongkhosiem Haokip got his toe to Moura’s exquisite pass ahead of an out-rushing Steven Simonsen as the ball trickled goal-wards but a last-ditched sliding clearance by Johnson denied Goa.
Joaquim Abranches should have hit the target in the 19th minute, but shot wide as Goa grew in confidence. Dessai beat Simonsen but hit Pune’s crossbar minutes later with the Gaurs absolutely dominating proceedings.
FC Pune City had to wait till the 36th minute to get their first attempt on target. It came from a corner when a ball fell to their top-scorer Kalu Uche with his back to goal. The Nigerian striker tried to catch out Simonsen with a cheeky back-heel, but the Englishman was equal to the task and cleared safely.
A beautifully hit Nicky Shorey free-kick into the box found Tuncay Sanli’s head just before the break. His effort though flew over Goa’s goal summing up his side’s half as FC Goa head coach Zico and his side were visibly disheartened going in at half-time having failed to score.
Goa took the lead immediately after the restart. Jonatan Lucca put in a dangerous ball across Pune’s six-yard box with Romeo Fernandes shooting across the face of goal from the right. Johnson, who made a goal-line clearance in the first period, stuck a leg out and netted into his own goal as the home team finally got their noses in front.
Uche almost drew level for FC Pune City two minutes later but he hit the goalpost. Lenny Rodrigues was next to have a pop at the Goa goal as the visitors upped the tempo in search of an equalizer. Goa should have been 2-0 up in the 59th minute but keeper Simonsen was in inspired form and saved from Dessai first which led to a corner. The resulting corner saw the Englishman save another (from a Luciano Sobrosa header), leading to another corner. The Goans were relentless as Lucio headed the following corner straight at the Pune keeper’s grateful hands to finally avert the danger.
FC Pune City made Goa pay for missing their string of chances four minutes later when Lyngdoh found himself on the end of a cross by substitute Wesley Verhoek. Lyngdoh’s towering header gave FC Goa’s keeper no chance as the Stallions made it 1-1.
It was end-to-end stuff from here on as both sides went on in search of a winner. Dessai put in a wicked cut-back from the left that could have easily ended up in goal, had any of his team-mates making a run into the box held their runs. While Jackichand Singh nearly made it 2-1 for the visitors by firing in a curler after cutting in from the left.
Both sides tried to clinch all three points in the four minutes of additional time, however, the score remained at 1-1 as FC Pune City consolidated their top spot, while FC Goa moved up to third.
Club Award: Shared by FC Goa and FC Pune City
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Eugeneson Lyngdoh (FC Pune City) (Watch here)
Swift Moment of the Match: Steve Simonsen (FC Pune City) (Watch here)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Thongkhosiem Haokip (FC Goa)
Hero of the Match: Mandar Rao Dessai (FC Goa) (Watch here)