FC Pune City held on for a 1-1 draw with Kerala Blasters in a controversial Indian Super League match at the Balewadi Stadium, Pune on Friday.
Marko Stankovic and Nikola Krcmarevic scored the goals for Pune City and Blasters respectively while Emiliano Alfaro missed a penalty for the hosts.
Kerala started with CK Vineeth and Slavisa Stojanovic, the two goalscorers from their last match, a 2-2 draw with Jamshedpur. Pune City, who lost 4-2 to Goa, started up top with Robin Singh, Emiliano Alfaro and Marcelinho. Kamaljit Singh also started in goal for Pune City, replacing Vishal Kaith.
Despite the away side starting off as the better team, Pune struck first when Marko Stankovic curled one from distance, giving Naveen Kumar no chance with a shot from outside the box. Alfaro should really have made it 2-0 to Pune when he found himself free in the box from a corner soon after but he skewed his header wide.
The biggest moment of controversy came towards the end of the first half when a goalmouth scramble saw Nikola Krcmarevic claim that the ball had gone over the line, with Blasters celebrating an equaliser. Replays showed that the referee was right in ruling out the goal but should have given a penalty as Pune’s Alfaro had handled the ball on the line.
Alfaro had a chance to extend his team’s lead as Krcmarevic conceded a penalty by pushing him over in the box. The Pune striker stepped up to take a penalty but hit the crossbar. Kerala made Pune pay as Krcmarevic stroked the ball home from a corner.
Blasters applied late pressure but could not force a win as Pune held on for a point, their second of the campaign and first under the interim charge of Pradhyum Reddy.
They remained ninth, just ahead of Chennaiyin FC. Kerala, with their fourth consecutive draw, are at fifth with seven points.