Delhi Dynamos' winless streak stretched into a fifth game as they settled for a 1-1 draw at home against FC Pune City at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Thursday. Milan Singh equalized for Delhi in the 79th minute after Tato had put Pune ahead against the run of play just before half time.
The hosts dominated the game in terms of possession and attempts on goal, but lacked clinical finishing despite promising buildup play. Pune defended with numbers in both halves and held on for an impressive point, thanks in large part to goalkeeper Edel Bete's performance in front of goal. It was Pune's fourth straight draw in the league and they remain second from bottom with just one win in five games so far.
Delhi coach Gianluca Zambrotta made three changes from the last game, giving starts to Soram Poirei, David Addy and Anas Edathodika, as Doblas, Lalchhawnkima and Marcos Tebar sat out. Antonio Habas made only one change for Pune, bringing in Gouramangi Singh in place of Arata Izumi.
Delhi started on the front foot and David Addy's left-footed shot in 2nd minute went just wide of the bottom right corner of the Pune goal. Richard Gadze had a go in the 7th minute following a nice interchange between Malouda and Marcelo at the edge of the box, but the shot was deflected wide.
Delhi had a penalty shout turned down in the 12th minute when Ruben went down under Gouramangi Singh's challenge. The hosts continued to press forward and the next chance fell to Milan Singh on the edge of the box in the 13th minute. The shot took a deflection and was saved well by Edel Bete, who dived to his left and tipped the ball over with his right hand.
Bete pulled off another outstanding save a minute later when Gadze turned and released a shot towards the top right corner. The keeper sharply came off his line moments later and gathered a through-ball from Marcelo to deny Gadze another opportunity.
With Delhi dominating possession, Pune struggled to launch a meaningful attack in the first half. Narayan Das' desperate attempt from long-range in the 25th minute was collected easily by Soram Porei, who was a spectator virtually in the opening period.
Bete was sharp on a set-piece in the 44th minute, tipping Memo's free-kick over to keep his team in the tie. Soram Porei was also forced into a save just before half time when Traore had a go from just outside the 18-yard box.
Pune broke the deadlock against the run of play, as Tato met Rahul Bheke's cross from the right with a header at the far post minutes before half time. The keeper and the defender could only watch as the ball dinked over them and crossed the line to give the visitors an unlikely lead.
Delhi made an aggressive start again in the second half, and Bete pulled off another outstanding save in the 47th minute, diving low to his right to deflect Ruben's volley away for a corner.
The second half followed a script similar to the first as Pune packed numbers in front of goal and Delhi pressed high. Bete, who had been outstanding all evening, was fortunate to get away with an individual mistake in the 53rd minute when he came of his line and completely misjudged a long ball. However, Marcelo's effort only hit the side-netting.
Delhi grew frustrated in the second half as Pune's defence continued to clear everything and even threatened on the break from time to time. Milan Singh was lucky not to see a red after a reckless challenge on Mohamed Sissoko.
Delhi finally found an equalizer in the 79th minute as Milan Singh's drilled cross-field shot following a set piece beat a diving Bete to his right. Marcelo, who had won the free-kick on the right side of the box, put in a low cross inside the box and Milan Singh went past two defenders before getting his shot away.
Pune nearly snatched a winner in added time as Rahul Bheke's header from Tato's corner was gloved away by the Delhi keeper.