The Durand Cup began with a whimper for Pune FC who were held to 1-1 draw by ONGC with scruffy passing and a poor defensive ethic being ubiquitous in Wednesday's first tie on the Ambedkar Stadium greens.
Pune FC fielded a second-string side with most of the first team currently preparing for a showdown with English club Blackburn Rovers on Friday. Stand-in coach Norbert Gonsalves even fielded five academy players.
After an uneventful first half, Pune FC broke the deadlock in the 58th minute when new recruit Maninder Singh played a defence-splitting through-ball to Karma Tsewang who beat ONGC left-back Krishna Shirodkar to finish over the head of custodian Bilifang Narzary with a crisp lob.
ONGC eventually drew level when substitute Kenistan C's effort from 22 yards was clipped in by Patil past Amrinder and the late effort ensured a point for both sides.
"I was happy with the performance because our main team. They're working hard and are confident of a good result and will join this squad after Friday's match," said Gonsalves.
Playing their first Durand Cup since 2006, Kolkata outfit Mohammedan Sporting brushed aside Army Red in a 1-0 win by way of a stellar Tapan Maity volley in the third minute. However, coach Alok Mukherjee should be worried about why his forwards, Felix Chimaokwu and Surajit Bose, repeatedly mistimed their runs in turn rendering good plays useless because of an effective Army offside trip.