FC Pune City and Bengaluru FC have played out a goalless draw in the first leg of their Indian Super League (ISL) semi-final encounter, at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Wednesday.
League leaders Bengaluru were favourites having finished first in their group stage, whilst Pune finished fourth.This was the first time either side had reached the knockout stage and the second leg will now be crucial for both.
The game was a tell of two halves, Bengaluru proving the better of the two sides during the first half, whilst Pune had a glorious chance to win the game late on in the second half.
After the match Pune coach Ranko Popovic spoke of his satisfaction of his team’s performance, but not the result.
“I am satisfied with the performance, not the result. Today, our work was very hard but very good. We don’t have to change too much, we only have to believe in ourselves,” he said.
“I am satisfied. I hope I will be happy on Sunday (March 11, 2018) night (after the second-leg). Neither team wanted to make a mistake and lose the advantage. I think this game was very competitive. It was interesting. We drew tonight but Indian football won.”
“We have to be ready for everything (in the second leg). What we have to do is score goals, what we want to do is score goals and win the game there. Both teams will want to score goals.
The Serbian coach then went on to express his joy coaching Pune in the ISL.
“Today (Wednesday) it was fantastic to play in Pune. If they (supporters) believe in you, you have to repay that belief. The supporters have been fantastic.
“ISL experience has been fantastic for me so far. The organisation of this league has been of the highest level. If I am here next season, I will enjoy it. If I am not, I will enjoy this from far away but I cannot tell you about it right now.”
The second leg of the semi-final will take place on 11 March at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.