ISL semifinals: Bengaluru, Pune fail to breakthrough

The two sides will need to put up a better show in the second leg for a chance to make the final.

Marcelinho of FC Pune City (left) and Dimas Delgado (Bengaluru FC) in action during the first leg semifinal at the Balewadi stadium on Wednesday.   -  Vivek Bendre

Isaac Vanmalsawma, coming on as substitute for FC Pune City, got the best chance to earn fame. Skipper Marcelinho spotted him in position around the goalmouth and pulled off a neat cross, but the youngster failed to connect.

Bengaluru FC held on to force a goalless draw in the Indian Super League (ISL) first leg semifinal at the Balewadi stadium on Wednesday.

 

The teams will move to Bengaluru for the second and decisive leg on March 11.

Bengaluru played a physical game in an attempt to frustrate and provoke the Pune forwards. Marcelinho was frequently targeted but he kept his cool. He was taken off by Pune coach Ranko Popovic towards the close to save him for the return leg.

Match centre

The visitor also took the aerial route to find openings. Sunil Chhetri came closest but Vishal Kaith pulled off the best save of the game. Taking a direct free-kick from the left of the box, the Bengaluru captain sent a thunderous strike towards the goal but Kaith tracked the attempt and tipped it over swiftly.

Gurpreet, at the other end, dealt with two threats effortlessly and kept out the host’s initial ambitions. He dived forward to collect the ball rolling off Ashique Kuruniyan’s chest off a precise lob from Sahil Panwar.

Pune survived a scare off a corner kick on resumption. Dimas Delgado went for power and missed the target.

In the next attempt, Semboi Haokip headed inwards over a crowd of defenders. Juanan and Chhetri went for the ball, the Spaniard got a free header but his radar was off. At the other end, Marcelinho swerved to go wide down the left flank but could not get his shot in.

The anxiety in finishing cost the skipper a chance to put his team ahead. Isaac’s miss came next and both sides went away bruised and exhausted.

The two sides will need to put up a better show in the second leg for a chance to make the final.

  Dugout videos