Punjab FC’s three-match winning streak in the I-League came to a halt when they drew with Real Kashmir FC 1-1 in a top of the table clash at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium here on Thursday.
Joseba Beitia’s 67th minute strike from the penalty spot was cancelled out by Dipanda Dicka’s goal in the 72nd minute in an eventful second half which also saw two red cards.
In an end-to-end start, it was Punjab, who came close to breaking the deadlock in the sixth minute as Papa Diawara’s lobbed header was cleared off the line by Mason Robertson.
The game slowly settled down as Punjab started dominating possession.
Punjab piled on the pressure, winning two free-kicks, one after the other. The first one was hit straight into the wall by Chencho Gyeltshen in the 21st minute. Two minutes later, they won another free-kick from 25 yards and Joseba Beitia forced Mithun Samantha into tipping his effort over the bar.
Real Kashmir had to depend more on set-pieces to open chances. They came close to scoring the opener on the 31st minute when Pratesh Shridokar’s long-range curling effort from a Haroon Amiri layoff went inches wide of the post.
A minute after the restart, Danish Farooq pounced on a stray clearance from Mohammed Irshad, but his first-time volley went wide of Kiran Kumar Limbu’s goal.
Real Kashmir created another chance on the 47th minute, but Lukman’s header from the edge of the area did not carry enough power to beat the Nepalese custodian.
The game took an ugly turn in the 63rd minute when Chencho clashed with Haroon Amiri in an off-the-ball incident and both received their marching orders.
The opening goal finally came after Dharmaraj Ravanan fouled substitute Sumit Passi in the area, and Joseba Beitia slotted his penalty low past Mithun Samantha in the 67th minute.
However, Punjab’s lead hardly lasted five minutes as the Snow Leopards scored with their very next corner.
Mason Robertson was at the end of Sena Ralte’s long cross into the area. The defender sent his first-time cross across the goal where Dipanda Dicka headed in the ball home. ( PTI )