Delhi Dynamos dominated the proceedings but yet again played out a draw in a 1-1 result against FC Pune City in a familiar show of their strikers missing chances galore in the Indian Super League football on Thursday.
Delhi were denied thrice with Pune goalkepeer Edel Bete making fantastic saves each time while home side player Marcelo Pereira missing the target with an empty net in front as Zambrotta’s men played out their fourth draw of the season from six matches.
Pune barely had a clear chance except a blinder of a header at the fag end of the match by defender Rahul Bheke off a corner kick, besides the goal-bearing move.
Jesus Rodriguez Tato put Pune ahead in the 45+1 minute as he headed in a corner kick while Milan Singh found the equaliser in the 79th minute to end the match in a stalemate.
This was the third straight draw of Delhi at home and they remained at sixth at the league table with seven points from one won four draws and one loss. Delhi already have become the side with most draws in ISL history before this match. They now have 14 draws in the ISL so far.
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Pune also remained at seventh spot in the eight-team league table with six points from six matches from one win, three draws and two losses.
Delhi completely dominated the first half with the trio of captain Florent Malouda, Marcelo Pereira and Richard Gadze tormenting the opposition defence with some fine moves mostly from the left flank and Pune defending their citadel. But, to the dismay of the 14,000 crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Pune scored against the run of play and took the lead during the added time of the first session.
Delhi had the first look at opposition goal in the third minute when Malouda laid one for Marcelinho who slid it to Addy on the overlap. But Ghanaian’s shot went just wide while Pune goalkeeper Edel Bete was scrambling.
Bete, who had a poor game in Pune’s 1-1 draw against Chennaiyin FC in his side’s last match at home made two fantastic saves to deny Delhi taking the lead. In the first, Marcelo found Malouda in the box in the 13th minute and the former France and Chelsea star flicked the ball back to Milan Singh whose shot took a deflection off defender Gouramangi Singh but Edel was in a right position to get his hand to tip it over.
Then in the 22nd minute, Bete made an even better save. Gadze got a pass from Malouda inside the box and then let loose a powerful shot. The ball was heading towards the top corner but somehow Bete made a save in exchange for a corner, diving to his left and reaching the ball while on air.
After dominating the proceedings for long, Delhi failed to maintain the spark in the remaining part of the first session. Pune also did nothing worthwhile with lone frontman Dramane Traore not getting much supply from his midfielders.
Just as the two sides were bracing for the break, Jesus Rodriguez Tato scored from a corner kick taken by Rahul Bheke as he won the aerial battle against Souvik Chakrabarti and his looping header hit the post and went in even though Anas Edathodika tried his best to keep it out.
Just after resumption, Delhi had two chances to score and restore parity but again failed to give the finishing touches.
First, in the 47th minute, Pune goalkepeer Bete made a top-class save to deny Delhi defender Ruben Rocha whose curling effort off a corner kick was palmed it out. In the 53rd minute, Marcelo had the easiest of the chances but he still missed it. A long freekick into the Pune box saw goalkeeper Bete colliding into two of his defenders and failing to get the ball. It fell to Marcelo who had an empty net staring at him but he only hit the sidenetting with his left foot and coach Gianluca Zambrotta gestured in disbelief.
Zambrotta made double substitution in the 62nd minute with Bruno Pelissari coming for David Addy and Chinglesana Konsham Singh replacing Rupert Nongrum but it did not make much of a difference for a while as Pune sat deep in the second half as they were one-goal ahead.
Captain Malouda was taken out and Badara Badji was brought in by Zambrotta in the 77th minute and just two minutes later Delhi got the equaliser as Milan Singh drilled a low right-footer after Marcelo sent a ground pass to him instead of taking a direct try of the free-kick.
The last few minutes of the match saw both sides scrambling for the match-winner. Pune were unlucky to get it in the 90th minute as Bheke got an unchallenged header off a corner kick by Tato but it went straight into the goalkeeper who was standing on the goal-line.
In the injury time, Richard Gadze had a solo run down the left flank and he essayed a low cross from the byline but it missed all the Delhi players inside the Pune box.