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January 22, 2012 3:30 PM IST
 

Air India 2-2 Pune FC: An Entertaining Draw At The Balewadi Sports Complex

The Maratha derby saw the two sides share the spoils as neither team could stamp an authority over the other…

By Ayush Srivastava

I-League, Pune FC vs Air-India, Shanmugam Venkatesh
Pune FC

Pune FC came back from being two goals down to draw 2-2 with Air India in an I-League encounter at the Balewadi stadium in Pune on Sunday.

Ezeh Henry put the Mumbai side ahead with a peach of a finish in the 14th minute while Takayuki Omi added to Air India’s advantage in the 62nd minute. S. Venkatesh’s goal in the 76th minute sparked hope of a comeback by the Red Lizards and Chika Wali snatched an equaliser deep into injury time for the Pune-based side.

Air India started with Sandesh Gadkari as he faced his former side while Derrick Pereira decided to drop Jeje Lalpekhlua in favour of Mandjou Keita upfront.

It was Pune FC who started the brighter of the two teams from kickoff, as they stretched Air India on the wings and put in a few threatening balls into the box, but they just evaded Subash Singh and Keita upfront.

However it was Santosh Kashyap’s side took the lead as Ezeh Henry unleashed a terrific strike from outside the box to find the back of the net with Abhra Mondal beaten all ends up in the 14th minute.

Pune FC tried to reply back immediately, but the ball refused to fall kindly for Subash and Izumi Arata in the box as the Red Lizards enjoyed huge periods of possession.

Takayuki Omi and Gadkari were guilty of missing a chance each from inside the box as their snapshots went over the bar.

As the half progressed, Air India started showing more imagination in attack and it almost paid dividends as Gadkari saw his looping header come off the cross-bar, much to the agony of the staff and players of the Airmen,

Pune FC should have ended their half on a better note when Subash Singh failed to take advantage of a slip in Air India’s defence as he shot wide when he should have at least tested the keeper.

Keita then thought he had succeeded in nodding in the equaliser, but the linesman’s flag was raised.

That proved to be the last chance of the half, as Pune FC headed into the break with their unbeaten streak under considerable danger.

The second half was much scrappier at the beginning, as both teams failed to show any kind of composure on the ball.

Jeje came in for Karma Tsewang and soon afterwards, Lester had the first real chance of the half, but his shot was wayward and did not trouble Pawan Kumar in goal.

Pune FC soon started dominating possession and with three players upfront they created some problems for Air India’s backline too.

Gadkari then had the chance to put the hosts further ahead but he somehow missed from point-blank range. He somewhat made amends for the miss, as Air India caught Pune FC on the counter and although Gadkari’s scuffed shot was saved by Mondal, Takayuki Omi was following up and tapped the ball into an empty net to put Kashyap’s side up by two goals in the 62nd minute.

The Red Lizards afternoon went from bad to worse when Jeje was clattered by the keeper in the box and had to come off injured with Maninder Singh replacing him.

Keita then went close with a free-kick just outside the box, but a goal continued to elude Derrick Pereira’s side.

It was through S. Venkatesh’s driving run into the box and a scrappy finish at the end of it, which bought them back into the tie in the 76th minute. The goal galvanised Pune FC into action as Arata then tried his luck from distance, but his shot went just over the bar.

In the last ten minutes, Pune FC attacked with vigour, but it seemed they would go back empty handed, until Chika Wali popped up with a fine header which found the back of the net, deep into the injury time to spark wild celebrations.

That proved to be the last piece of notable action in the game as the referee blew the whistle to end a very entertaining game with end-to-end action that saw Pune FC extend their unbeaten streak to ten games and go level on points with Mohun Bagan in the league table.

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Air India F.C.

1
Pawan Kumar
Goalkeeper
84′
0.00
18
Bijoy Basfore
Defender
0.00
6
Lamine Tamba
Defender
0.00
15
0.00
4
Ramandeep Singh
Defender
78′
0.00
4
Sandeep Sangha
Midfielder
0.00
-
Kali Alaudeen
Midfielder
22′
0.00
15
Takayuki Omi
Midfielder
62′
0.00
9
Mohammed Shafi
Midfielder
56′
0.00
14
Henry Ezeh
Striker
14′
0.00
14
0.00

Pune FC

0.00
26
Abhra Mondal
Goalkeeper
0.00
25
0.00
4
Chika Wali
Defender
92′
0.00
15
0.00
2
0.00
31
0.00
14
Karma Tsewang
Midfielder
52′
0.00
8
Arata Izumi
Midfielder
0.00
6
0.00
10
0.00
10

Substitutes

25
Harshad Meher
Goalkeeper
0.00
25
0.00
29
0.00
-
Royston Dsouza
Midfielder
56′
0.00
36
0.00
20
Allan Dias
Striker
0.00
33
Manjit Singh
Midfielder
83′
0.00

Substitutes

0.00
12
0.00
19
0.00
-
0.00
24
Maninder Singh
Midfielder
69′
0.00
5
0.00
1
Amrinder Singh
Goalkeeper

Coach/Manager

-
0.00

Coach/Manager

0.00
-
 
  • Goal
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  • Penalty
  • Penalty Missed
  • Yellow Card
  • Assist
  • Penalty Save
  • Penalty Shootout Goal
  • Penalty Shootout Miss
  • Yellow Card / Red Card
  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
  • Goal.com Rating
  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
  • Top & Flop Global Ranking
  • Fans' Man of the Match
  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Cornell Glen Cornell Glen
Striker
Shillong Lajong
14 3
Sunil Chhetri Sunil Chhetri
Striker
Bengaluru
13 3
Darryl Duffy Darryl Duffy
Striker
Salgaocar
13 2
Josimar Josimar
Striker
Mohd Sp
13 1
Ranti Martins Ranti Martins
Striker
Rangdajied
12 0