Carlos strikes late to salvage draw for Pune
Delhi seemed set for all three points after a wonderous long-range strike from Rana Gharami (44’) but for second-half substitute Diego Carlos who equalised with two minutes left on the clock.
DELHI: Miguel Angel Portugal’s Pune City managed to earn a hard fought 1-1 draw at death against home side Delhi Dynamos in their Indian Super League opener at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Delhi.
Delhi seemed set for all three points after a wonderous long-range strike from Rana Gharami (44’) but for second-half substitute Diego Carlos who equalised with two minutes left on the clock. Rana Gharami became the first Indian footballer to score the goal in ISL 2018-19 season.
Coach Josep Gombau had Delhi Dynamos line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Andrija Kaluderovic leading the lines. Former Pune City midfielder Marcos Tebar started in midfield with Bikramjit Singh while Nandhakumar and Lallianzuala Chhangte provided the width.
Pune City playing a 4-3-3 formation started brightly, with Ashique Kuruniyan finding a lot of space down the left flank. An early cross from the youngster almost found Emiliano Alfaro inside the box.
Just after quarter of an hour, Delhi started to assert themselves and fashioned several key chances. With a minute to go for the half-time whistle, Delhi Dynamos got a deserved lead through an outrageous strike from Rana Gharami. The defender got on the ball from about 40 yards out and hit a thunderous strike that flew into the top corner, much to everyone’s wonder.
The second half got off to a slow start as both teams failed to create chances of note. Emiliano Alfaro cut a lone figure up front for Pune City while Delhi Dynamos pressed well but could not trouble the Stallions’ defence.
The Dynamos continued to exploit the wings and should have doubled their lead in the 67th minute. Nandhakumar went on a brilliant run down the right wings and squared the ball for Kaluderovic who met it with a weak left-foot that saw the effort trickle well wide.
With Pune turning desperate for a goal, Delhi had two good chances to score a second. With two minutes left in the tie, Pune City equalised after brilliant link-up play between Alfaro and Carlos. The Brazilian played in Alfaro inside the box.
Though Delhi pressed hard to regain their lead, Portugal’s men held on to clinch a point.