In what could be termed as their best match of the I-League season, DSK Shivajians held defending champions Bengaluru FC to a 2-2 draw at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Sunday.
Holicharan Narzary (41st and 55th minute) was the hero for DSK Shivajians as he scored on either side of the break. For Bengaluru, Sunil Chhetri (74th) and Salam Ranjan Singh (90+1) scored to earn a point from the match.
The day started for DSK Shivajians with a big boost with goalkeeper Subrata Paul coming back from an injury to start under the woodwork.
With Sandesh Jhingan out injured and John Johnson left out as a result of suspension in the previous game against Churchill Brothers, Bengaluru gaffer Albert Roca went for Salam Ranjan and Keegan Pereira at the defence with L Ralte and Nishu sitting out in a 4-3-3 formation.
The home side began with a dominant display right from the start, pegging back the defending champions into their own box most of the time.
The visiting team custodian Amrinder Singh was called into action very early in the game when Passi’s low cross into the box was met by an onrushing Narzary. A minute later another attempted cross, this time from Quero, came off the crossbar as Bengaluru defence completely looked out of sorts.
In the 27th minute, Quero took a shot from a distance that just looped over the goal while at the other end Eugeneson Lyngdoh almost put the visitors ahead after being brilliantly set up by C K Vineeth.
At the half hour mark, another of the many Quero attempt came off the post with Amrinder out of position as Blues survived the scare.
However, DSK Shivajians’ relentless pressure finally bore fruit. In the 41st minute, Narzary, taking advantage of a Keegan-Juanan mix-up, ran ahead of them with the ball before slotting it past an onrushing Amrinder to make it 1-0.
Ten minutes after the break, Narzary slotted in another goal to make it 2-0. An over the top through ball from Milan Singh saw Narzary run clear on goal as he slotted the ball calmly through the legs of Amarinder.
Roca brought in a slew of changes as Alwyn George, Daniel replaced Eugeneson and Udanta to spark some pace at their attacking third. With the game entering its last 15 minutes, captain Chhetri pulled one back for the visitors to make it his third goal in as many games.
Lurking around the left of the box, Chhetri did well to control a long ball from the middle before smartly sending the ball past an onrushing Paul to make it 2-1.
The goal brought back life to the Blues attack as they began controlling the game more often looking for that elusive equaliser while coming close to it number of times.
Finally, in the 90th minute, Chhetri did well inside the box before cutting it. But, the ball was deflected off for a corner. The resulting corner saw Salam Ranjan Singh rising the highest to head the ball into the net to send the travelling Blues fans into a frenzy.