The Shree Shiv Chhatrapati sports complex witnessed another keenly contested game on Tuesday. FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC battled it out for first place on the league table. The match ended in a 1-1 draw and both the team’s ended up sharing points, thus leaving the points table intact. A second half equalizer by Stiven Mendoza nullified Pune’s early 1-0 lead. This is the fourth draw on the trot in the Indian Super League.
Kostas Scores For Pune In Thrilling First Half:
Plenty of chances were on offer for both the teams as the game kicked off. FC Pune City opened scoring early in the 9th minute through a brilliant finish by Greek forward Kostas Katsouranis. Israil Gurung put in a cross from the right flank into the box and Kostas ran in from the midfield and hit the target on the half volley.
Chennai took control of the game after conceding the goal and surprised the home side with a flurry of shots. Elano sent in a wonderful high ball into the box which was headed by Harmanjot Khabra straight in the hands of Pune goalie Arindam Bhattacharya. A minute later, Chennai’s playing coach Marco Materazzi was fouled in the box by Daniele Magliochetti and was awarded a penalty. To everyone’s surprise, Elano’s shot went wide of the goal post and therefore missed his best chance of scoring his 9th ISL goal. Soon after, in the 21st minute, Mendoza fired a powerful left footed shot which hit the inside of the goal post and went out. Then came a stunning free kick from the specialist himself- a beautiful curling shot which hit the crossbar and came back into play. Elano had two genuine chances to give his side a lead in the first half itself.
Second Half- Chennaiyin FC’s Efforts Finally Yield A Goal:
The second half saw lesser chances being created but the intensity was the same. The visitors dominated most of the half as they kept the Pune defenders busy. The persistent attacking play finally worked for Chennaiyin FC when Elano hit a long ball forward for Mendoza. He along with Balwant Singh combined to rip open the Pune defence completely and the Colombian comfortably side footed the ball into the goal for the equaliser. The final whistle was blown and the match ended in another draw. Steven Mendoza was adjudged the Hero of the Match while FC Pune City ‘s goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya received the award for the ISL emerging player of the match.
The next fixtures for both the teams are important ones as the race to the top of the league table heats up. FC Pune City face Northeast United in Guwahati on November 15 and Chennaiyin FC will set up a 14th November clash with table toppers Atletico de Kolkata.