Pune FC 2 – 2 Shillong Lajong FC
Pune FC’s Mirjan Pavlovic late strike prevented an upset for Pune FC as they drew 2 -2 against Shillong Lajong FC in Balewadi Stadium, Pune. The host took an early lead courtesy Gabriel Fernandes, but a brace from Brazilian Forward, Uilliams Souza gave the visitors the lead until Pavlovic rescued his team in the dying minutes of the game.
Lajong Kick started the match in search a victory after earning only one point in their previous two away games. Pune FC meanwhile who were playing in front of their home crowd were also eager for three points after being held to a draw against Mumbai FC in their previous game. Both teams looked strong in attack and created few chances for themselves in the opening stages of the game. The home team then managed to take the lead in the 14th minute when a through ball by Riga to Mirjan was intercepted by the Lajong keeper off his line but unfortunately could not keep it away from the incoming Gabriel Fernandes who slot the ball in the empty goal. With plenty of time left, Lajong players did not lose hope as they continued to press forward looking for the equaliser. They were then awarded a free kick in the opponents half and Uilliams Free Kick meant for his team mates instead bounced past all the players in the box and headed straight into the right side of the net giving Lajong a well deserved equaliser in the 26th minute. The visiting team found some rhythm in the game and created more chances to take the lead. The home team composed themselves and created few chances for themselves too. The game turned very entertaining towards the close of the first half with some end to end action. Lajong Striker Cornell Glen suffered an injury in the 42nd minute and had to be substituted by former Pune FC forward, Subash Singh. Both teams failed to score at the end of the first half and went into the break with the scores level.
The Second half was kicked off by Pune FC. Both teams were eager to take the lead and shared equal possession in the opening minutes of the half trying to create chances for their forwards. The home team then created various chances to score their second goal but the visiting team’s backline stood firm and prevented the ball from going in the net. Then in the 70th minute, Lajong Captain, Minchol Son’s low driven ball found Uilliams on the edge of the opponent’s box, who made no mistake in putting it past the Pune FC keeper with his favourite left foot. With less than fifteen minutes left to play, Pune FC pushed hard for the equaliser as Lajong tried to hold the lead. The visiting team thwarted all the chances created by the home team as they were close to an away victory, but then in the 90th minute, new recruit Mirjan Pavlovic equalised for Pune FC with a header lifting the home crowd support. The game however ended all square with two goals each for both sides as neither team found the winner in extra time.
With this result, Lajong stay in fifth spot of the I-League table with 25 points and will travel to Kolkata to play against Kingfisher East Bengal in their fourth consecutive away match.