Viva Kerala held to a 1-1 draw by Pune FC

Kannur: Striker Sunilkumar`s header with just one minute left for the match saved the day for Pune FC, who managed to hold hosts Viva Kerala 1-1 in the I-League Football match at the Jawahar Municipal stadium on Sunday.

Producing an impressive performance Viva Kerala scored the goal in the 73rd minute through striker Jimshad`s header, while saviour Sunilkumar`s header in the dying moments of the match helped Pune to share the points.

With this match, both Viva and Pune FC have two points apiece from three encounters.

Dominating the entire proceedings, Viva could have won the match rather convincingly, but have to blame themselves for the draw as their strikers fumbled with the opportunities, specially in the second half, much to the dismay of the holiday crowd.

Viva, finding their rhythm straightaway, went all out for the goal and gave some anximous moment to Pune goalkeeper Balaji Narasimhan.

Viva could have forged ahead in the 20th minute, but none of the strikers could latch on to the cross sent in by Sabeeth and again O K Javid, who substituted Felix Chumaoku in the 40th minute, managed to dodge past a couple of defenders and with Narasimhan alone at his mercy banged it over the bar.

The second half saw Viva in total control and going all out for the lead. Anilkumar almost fetch the lead for the hosts, but Narasimhan showed good reflexes to avert the danger.

When it seemed that the match would end in a tame draw, Viva scored the lead through Jimshad, who fully made use of a long throw-in by Sherin Same from the left, to beat Narasimhan with a header, much to the delight of the crowd.

Pune too had earned some chances to reduce the margin, but they fumbled at the nick of the time either striking straight to the Viva goalkeeper or over the cross-piece.

Pune`s Arata Izumi and Keita Mandjov came out with brilliant performances.

With a minute to go for the final whistle, Pune`s Sunilkumar surprised Viva with a header, to split the points.