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Odisha v Pune City Match Report, 4/10/18

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R. Gharami (44)
Diego (88)
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
ISL 2018-19: Diego Carlos' late goal rescues a point for Pune City against Delhi Dynamos
1:58 am AEST 4/10/18
Delhi Dynamos vs Pune City ISL 2018/19
Delhi Dynamos' wastefulness in front of goal came to bite them back in their Indian Super League season five opener at home....

A late goal from Diego Carlos helped FC Pune City hold Delhi Dynamos to a 1-1 draw in the Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Carlos’ 88th minute strike cancelled out an excellent long-range strike by Delhi debutant Rana Gharami at the end of the first-half (44’).

Josep Gombau lined up the Dynamos in a 4-3-2-1 formation in his first ISL match in charge with Spanish custodian Francisco Dorronsoro being handed his debut in the league. Rana Gharami was handed a start in central defence alongside Gianni Zuiverloon with Narayan Das and Pritam Kotal deployed in the full-back roles.

Up front, Serbian striker Andrija Kaluderovic led the line with Rene Mihelic playing behind him. Lallianzuala Chhangte and Nandhakumar Sekar started on either flanks while Bikramjit Singh was preferred ahead of Vinit Rai to partner Marcos Tebar in midfield.

Miguel Angel Portugal deployed the Stallions in a similar formation with Emiliano Alfaro leading the line as usual. Martin Diaz and Matthew Mills started in central defence with Jonathan Vila and Adil Khan starting in midfield. Ashique Kuruniyan and Jakob Vanlalhimpuia started on either flanks with Marko Stankovic playing as the furthest midfielder.

It was the visitors who looked the more confident side at the start with Kuruniyan looking lively on the left flank. In the 13th minute, the young winger beat Pritam Kotal far too easily before swinging in an excellent cross across the face of goal that Alfaro almost got his foot to before Gharami made a last-ditch tackle.

Spain’s Jonathan Vila was running the show from midfield with Delhi finding it difficult to gain a foothold in the match. The hosts slowly started clawing their way back into the match through the left-flank where Lallianzuala Chhangte was looking like a threat. In the 20th minute, Chhangte charged down the left before squaring the ball back into box. The ball found its way to Nandhakumar who cut back to his left foot before curling it just over the cross bar with Kaith well beaten.

The hosts were forced to make an early change towards the end of the first-half after midfielder Bimrakjit Singh went down in agony clutching his hamstring. The former Chennaiyin man had to be eventually stretchered off with Vinit Rai coming on instead.

Delhi took the lead in the dying minutes of the first period through the most unlikely of sources. Defender Rana Gharami ventured forward with the ball through the middle with no one to close him down and then unleashed a sumptuous of strikes from distance that left Vishal Kaith rooted to his spot. The debutant’s goal ensured that it was the hosts who went into the break with their noses in front.

The start of the second period was a quiet one with both sides battling it mostly in the midfield.  It was around the hour-mark that either side really threatened with Adil Khan finding himself in a great position for a shot. Jakob laid the ball for the midfielder to strike but Adil’s shot was weak and some way off target.

The hosts should have doubled their lead in the 67th minute following an excellent pass by Nadhakumar to release Pritam down the right channel. The right-back cut the ball back into the box where an unmarked Kaluderovic missed the target from yards out.

In the last quarter, the hosts brought on Romeo Fernandes for Nadhakumar while Portugal threw on Diego Carlos and Gurtej Singh for Jakob and Diaz.

The visitors had a great chance to equalize in the 79th minute when the ball sat up perfectly for Jonathan Vila to strike. The Pune City midfielder struck his volley well but his compatriot Dorronsoro pulled of a flying save to keep Delhi ahead.

At the other end, Zuiverloon got on the end of a well taken free-kick by Narayan Das but the Dutchman’s effort failed to find its mark as Pune breathed a huge sigh of relief. Then, Chhangte went on a mazy run and skipped past the Pune defence with ease before being denied by Kaith’s outstretched hands.

The hosts’ wastefulness in front of goal would come to bite them back in the 88th minute after Pune substitute Diego Carlos surged into the box and placed a perfect low shot in the bottom right corner to level the scores.

In the end, the shares were spoiled on the night with both sides unable to find the winning goal.