Nikola Krcmarevic wrested a point for Kerala Blasters following a hard-fought 1-1 draw with FC Pune City in the Indian Super League on Friday.

The tall Serbian prowled across the pitch at the Balewadi stadium, had a goal attempt disallowed, gave away a penalty and then poked home the equaliser late in the second half. Marko Stankovic struck a stunning goal in the first half, raising victory hopes in the home team camp, only to see Emiliano Alfaro’s missed penalty resulting in the advantage slipping away.

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The home team started with Kamaljit Singh in goal, who seized the chance to defy Kerala with some brilliant saves. Kamaljit’s counterpart at the other end of the field, Naveen Kumar, took the first real blow. Stankovic weaved his way past the defence and unleashed a powerful left-footer from the edge of the box into the top corner to put his side ahead in the 13th minute. The goal-scorer went off later in the first half after suffering a calf injury.


The visitor, prodded into action after conceding early, saw an appeal for a goal disallowed by the referee late in the opening half.

Slavisa Stojanovic struck a corner from the left and a goal-line skirmish ensued. Krcmarevic followed the ball all the way and tried to knock it into the net but Alfaro put his body on the line and Kamaljit leaped to his right to push the ball away. The referee initially awarded Kerala Blasters the goal but later disallowed it for rough play.

Krcmarevic, in his anxiety to score, had pushed the goalkeeper and then attempted to force the ball when it was already in Kamaljit’s grasp amidst frenzied movements by the players involved.


FC Pune City's Marko Stankovic in action against Kerala Blasters on Friday.


Alfaro, wearing the captain’s armband for Pune City, wasted a golden opportunity to score the second goal and push his team closer to is first win of the season. Alfaro earned a penalty in the 57th minute when he was tripped in the box by Krcmarevic. The Uruguayan stepped up to take the powerful spot-kick only managed to find the crossbar and sailed over.

Krcmarevic proved to be the game-changer when he netted the equaliser in the 61st minute. Stojanovic's corner found Gurtej Singh but the latter's weak clearance went only as far as Krcmarevic, who slotted the ball home with ease.

Both sides fought tooth and nail to find the winner but neither managed to find the back of the net and had to be content with one point each.