It's a sticky spot for city teams — not winning a single match at home since the beginning of the second phase. Chirag United add to this on Friday. But in all fairness, the violet shirts couldn't be blamed for falling back after striker Edmilson Marques had them ahead after converting a penalty being brought down by Selwyn Fernandes.
Till Sandip Nandy's petulance doomed them.
With Douhou Pierre — back after a one-match suspension — threatening to break through the Chirag defence with a solo run, an ambitious Nandy left charge to challenge the foreigner. Pierre hoodwinked him easily but the former India keeper slapped at the ball, not realising he was already out the 18-yard box, leading to his send-off. That forced a changed in Chirag's strategy.
Asim Biswas — operating as attacking wide midfielder — was sacrificed for reserve keeper Somnath Khanra. He, however, struggled and fumbled with the easiest of grabs, making the Chirag defence look frail.
Their opponents capitalised within 10 minutes of Khanra's introduction. He made a mess of Arata Izumi's long ranger from the right, allowing Jeje Lalpekhlua to lash home off the rebound. But Pune FC failed to stage that performance again.
Chirag were let off easily with a point. They still are third with 31 points while Pune FC remained fifth with 27 points, having played a match less.
Bagan meet Salgaocar
On Saturday, Mohun Bagan, without the suspended Deepak Mondal and with striker Edeh Chidi unfit, meet Salgaocar, now coached by Karim Bencherifa. This is Bencherifa's first visit to Kolkata since leaving Mohun Bagan. Salgaocar have 21 points from 19 games. Mohun Bagan have 25 from 18.