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Last Updated Sunday August 19 2018 02:14 AM IST

ISL Season 4: Pune City, Bengaluru play out goalless draw in cagey first-leg

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FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC FC Pune City goalkeeper Vishal Kaith pulls off a save against Bengaluru FC. Photo: ISL

Pune : FC Pune and Bengaluru FC played out a goalless draw in their first semifinal of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium, here on Wednesday.

In what was the third encounter between the two sides this season, both teams more so the visitors adopted the caution first attitude leading to a match that provided very little goalmouth thrills to the 9000-strong crowd.

The second leg will be hosted by BFC on March 11 where Pune need only a draw to go through to the final with the away goal rule in operation in the semifinals.

BFC, the only side this season to have beaten all other teams and coming into the first leg semifinal unbeaten over their last eight games, started cautiously and adequately soaked up the initial pressure exerted by Pune City.

  • ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC

    FC Pune City's Aadhil Khan in action. Photo: ISL

    ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC
  • ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC

    Players in action during the ISL match between FC Pune City and Bengaluru FC. Photo: ISL

    ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC
  • ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC

    Bengaluru FC fans during the ISL match in Pune. Photo: ISL

    ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC
  • ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC

    Marcelinho of FC Pune City in action against Bengaluru FC players. Photo: ISL

    ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC
  • ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC

    Emiliano Alfaro, right, and Dimas Delgado in action. Photo: ISL

    ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC
  • ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC

    FC Pune City fans during the ISL match in Pune. Photo: ISL

    ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC
  • ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC

    Diego Carlos and Dimas Delgado vie for the ball during the ISL match in Pune. Photo: ISL

    ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC
  • ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC

    Players of Bengaluru FC and FC Pune City applaud each other after the semifinal first leg. Photo: ISL

    ISL Season 4: FC Pune City vs Bengaluru FC

The home team had the better of the exchanges in the first 15 minutes and also had a good chance to go ahead early on.

A lovely, long chip from well inside his territory by Sahil Panwar found Ashique Kuruniyan inside the rival box but the latter could not control the ball after chesting it and Gurpreet, under the Bengaluru bar, easily collected the ball.

Pune continued to surge forward but without spelling any real danger, and it was Bengaluru who came close to scoring when India skipper Sunil Chhetris curling free-kick from outside the box, was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by the home teams goalie Vishal Kaith just on the half hour mark.

Just prior to this fine effort by Kaith, Dimas Delgado of Bengaluru and Gurtej Sing of Pune were booked for rough play by referee Om Prakash Thakur.

Try as they did, Punes dangerous strike force of Marcelinho and Emiliano Alfaro were frustrated by the timely interceptions of crosses and through passes by the BFC defense in which the towering Juanan stood out in the centre along with John Johnson.

The change of ends saw the game pick up some speed after a slow-paced first half with Punes South American trio of Marcelinho, Alfaro and Diego Carlos stitching up a couple of good, combined moves without being able to break the deadlock.

Chhetri, at the other end, flunked a good headed ball that came his way inside the small box from Hoakips header following a corner but both he and teammate Juanan jumped for the ball only to nearly bang their heads and the ball sailed wide.

Both teams decided to go for substitutions. Kuruniyan, who had a mixed match, gave way for Issac Vanmalsawma in the Pune midfield while Bengaluru brought in Australian Erik Parthalu for the unimpressive Antonio Dovale of Spain, also in midfield.

Subashish Bose then became the second from the visiting team to be booked for a foul on Marcelinho. Soon afterwards Udanta Singh, surprisingly not given a start, came in for Haokip to give an edge to the visitors frontline.

Pune too made their second substitution by replacing Carlos with Jonathan Lucca a few minutes after Vanmalsawma had made a hash of a superb centre from Marcelinho.

Venezuelan Miku, the star BFC striker who was largely anonymous today, was also replaced with 10 minutes left by Spaniard Daniel Lucas, a clear indication of the inability of the visitors in making any meaningful effort.

Finally the match ended in a goalless draw, the second successive drawn match between the two sides this season after Bengaluru had won their opening skirmish 3-1 by coming from behind.

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