Margao: Salgaocar FC rallied in the second half to hold Pune FC to a 1-1 draw in the opening encounter of the I-League football tournament, here on Saturday.
Pune FC, who dominated the first half took the lead in the 44th minute, through Anthony D'Souza. But Salgaocar fought back in the second half to restore parity in the 80th minute through substiute Gilbert Oliveira.
Pune FC captain and India international Izumi Arata, who created a lot of chances for his team was chosen as 'Player of the Match'.
Pune FC looked more thrustful in their attack as they pressed hard for an early goal but as luck would have it found their sixth minute strike via Anthony D'Souza's free-kick being disallowed by referee O P Thakur.
The ball went inside the net after deflection off Salgaocar defender Gurjinder Singh but Thakur decided to award a penalty to Pune FC as he ruled that the defender has handled the ball.
Salgaocar turned out to be the beneficiary as Ryuji Sueoka's shot saw a diving Subrata Paul tip it towards upright as the score remained goalless.
Japanese born Indian Izumi, who combined well along with Sueoka and D'Souza kept the attack going through the build ups from wide left.
At the stroke of half-time, D'Souza intercepted a clearance from defender Francis Kasonde as he sprinted down on the left to unleash an angular left footer that found the back of the net.
Salgaocar found the going tough save Douhou Pierre's long ranger that lacked power to trouble rival keeper Amrinder Singh, who neatly collected the ball.
Pune FC continued to enjoy the early ball possession in the second session but lacked the sting to score.
Salgaocar coach Derrick Pereira made a change bringing in Gilbert Oliveira in place of Brian Mascarenhas and the move paid off as Salgaocar slowly got into their grooves and looking to catch the rival defence on the counter move found the equaliser in the 80th minute.
Rocus Lamare initiated the move as he took a shot from top of the box which deflected off a rival player and came to Douhou Pierre, who kept diagonal assist for substitute Gilbert Oliveira to slot home.