The Highlanders had taken the lead through Rowllin Borges at the start of the second half but struggled to make an impact after Pune City equalised later on and lost Jose Leudo to a straight red card towards the end of the match.
They now have to win their last match in order to confirm their place in the final four.
“In the first half, we were terrible. We lost many balls and gave them opportunities to fight. At half time, we did not talk about anything tactical. The only thing we talked was to step up our game because we can play football. That worked for the next 15 minutes where we scored one good goal," NorthEast United head coach Eelco Schattorie began.
“Suddenly, it went off again. Gurwinder (Singh) got a yellow card and to bring in the new defender, I had to make two changes. The goal was a defensive mistake. In the last 10-15 minutes, we got in (Juan) Mascia and tried to play more direct but that didn't work.
“We had two or three very good chances in the game but, we missed putting it in. It is part of the game and I cannot blame anyone for that.”
On new recruit Janeiler Rivas’ performance, the Dutch coach opined, “Yesterday in training, he was not ready to play, he wasn't registered. It was done sometime in the afternoon. That makes difficult to prepare for the game.
“In the last 10 games, the best we have played is when we have had the 10 starting players start which includes Mislav (Komorski). When somebody else comes in, you don't see the same level of control.”
NorthEast United are on the cusp of history as they stand a very good chance of making it to the ISL play-offs for the very first time.
On being asked about the coach’s message for the team ahead of making history, Eelco said, “Nothing. We have one more game to go and we will work with what we have. We lost two foreigners exactly during the most crucial period. Tomorrow is a new day and we will have to find the solution. Hopefully, we can still get those three points next week I hope that the other team, Jamshedpur lose some points.”