Wasteful Highlanders drop two points
Guwahati, November 15
NorthEast United FC couldn’t captalise on the goal scoring opportunities and as a consequence, were held to a 0-0 draw by FC Pune City at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati.
With this result, NorthEast and Pune City have 10 and 12 points each from ten matches as they remain rooted to the fifth and third position on the table.
Ricki Herbert handed the talented Allen Deory a start as he came in for Milan Singh. Meanwhile, Franco Colomba made two changes to the side that drew with Chennaiyin FC as Mehrajuddin Wadoo replaced the injured Lenny Rodrigues while Jermaine Pennant made his debut in the Indian Super League (ISL) as Ivan Bolado was benched.Interestingly, David Trezeguet was named on the bench with Dudu Omagbemi preferred upfront as the lone striker.
The two sides started cautiously but the first chance of the game fell for the home side. Koke found Seminlen Doungel free on the right but the striker overran the ball which eventually went out of play in the eighth minute.
The combination play between Aiborlang Khongjee and Doungel was good as they looked to attack from the right.
On one such occasion, they won a corner and Koke’s delivery saw Deory rise the highest, only to head it wide.
Midway into the first half as Bruno Cirillo’s cross-field lob for Dudu is headed down in front of the box for Davide Colomba whose left footed effort was parried away by Rehenesh.
Kondwani Mtonga could have given his team a lead before the half hour mark as his curling shot went wide off Arindam Bhattacharya’s upright after some good work by Doungel on the right.
In the first half injury time, Colomba’s free-kick was just about cleared by the NorthEast defense as the ball fell for Pritam Kotal who fired it back into the box. The ball deflected towards Cirillo who stuck his leg out to guide the ball over the goal.
After the break, the north east brigade increased the pressure on the visitors as Doungel and Deory swapped flanks and their movement kept the Pune defense guessing.
Ten minutes into the second half and Deory’s shot is just about blocked by Daniele Magliacchetti after he breezed past a couple of defenders to make his way into the box by latching on to a through ball.
Substitute Krisztian Vadocz should have done better as his first time shot went over the bar after Kostas Katsouranis did well to find the Hungarian in acres of space on the right.
Dudu had a chance his way as Katsouranis’ cross saw the Nigerian’s header go straight into Rehenesh’s hands.
In the 66th minute, Isaac Chansa’s pass was put through Magliocchetti’s legs by Doungel who sped forward to go one on one with Bhattacharya who came off his line to deny the striker a chance to shoot.
The very minute saw Israil Gurung run at the NorthEast defenders in a quick counterattack but his final cross was wanting as it went out of play.
Robin Gurung made amends for his mistake as he allowed Dudu to get on the end of Ashutosh Mehta’s through ball on the right by clearing the danger eventually.
Five minutes before the end of regulation time, Chansa broke free on the right and found Koke unmarked whose first time shot went straight to Bhattacharya, much to the disappointment of the assembled crowd.
Chansa let loose a shot from range which saw Bhattacharya spill it only to collect it on second attempt in the 87th minute.
Chansa did brilliant work down the left as he crossed into the box for David Nghaite who failed to control it as the Pune defenders cleared it on time.
In the injury time, Mehta was fouled which allowed Vadocz’s free-kick being headed by Ravanan but Rehenesh was equal to the task.
The two sides failed to breach the opposition’s defense and as a consequence, the score line remained the same until the end.