The much-anticipated tie between Chirag United and Pune FC turned out to be a drab draw. Shoddy passing, poor conversion and a bungled penalty kick saw the match end 0-0.
However, on a positive note, both teams defended with gusto, foiling attacks by Brazilians Edmar Figueira and Josimar Martins at opposite ends of the pitch.
Pune FC playmaker Izumi Arata was not as effective as he had been against Indian Air Force with Chirag United defenders Subhasis Roy Chowdhury and Justine Stephen closing him down repeatedly.
Pune FC's Figueira had a chance as early as in the 22nd minute but saw his header glance wide. Similarly, Chirag's Martins found himself in the box on a number of occasions but did little to convert, preferring to dribble and lose the ball instead.
Figueira once even got the better of Chirag custodian Abhijit Mondal in the 58th minute but his goal was ruled offside. Chirag earned a penalty the next minute with Martins was felled in the 18-yard box by Lamine Tamba. The referee pointed to the spot but Martins's spot-kick ballooned to the adjoining Ferozshah Kotla.
“The penalty changed it all. We drew a game we should have won but I'm satisfied with the side defensively, considering quite a few are back from injury as recently as two days ago,” said Chirag United coach Subroto Bhattacharya.
Later, Mondal managed to parry a Fugueira shot in the 75th minute.
Earlier, Churchill Brothers progressed to the semi-final after a convincing 3-1 win over Army Red.
Nigerian Okolie Odafa (34', 56', 89') scored a hattrick even though S Raleng helped Army Red pull level in the 42nd minute.
“I applaud the Army team for their tough defence but the side did well to win after being tied at the break. No team in the Durand Cup can be underestimated but we'll definitely look to fight it out in the semifinals,” said a visibly satisfied Churchill Brothers coach Vincent Subramaniam.