NorthEast United will have to wait till the conclusion of their league engagements to know if they have qualified for the ISL play-offs after they were held to a 1-1 draw by FC Pune City.
The home side could have sealed a place among the top four with a victory but the draw in a closely-fought clash at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium meant that they have to wait longer to know their fate.
Rowllin Borges’ 47th-minute strike looked to have given NorthEast three points and a spot in the playoffs. But Pune equalised though Adil Khan who slammed home a volley in the 69th minute before NorthEast were reduced to 10 men after Jose Leudo was sent off for violent conduct.
The result saw Pune’s mathematical chances of reaching the play-offs snuffed out while NorthEast, placed third with 28 points, will have to win the concluding league clash against Kerala Blasters.
NorthEast United dominated possession in the early stages but it was Pune who got the first shot on target. NorthEast goalkeeper Pawan Kumar was forced to keep out Jonathan Vila’s strike in the 13th minute.
The Highlanders raised the tempo as the clock ticked on and broke the deadlock soon after the restart. In the 47th minute, Khawlhring fired the ball into the feet of Bartholomew Ogbeche who laid it off for Borges inside the box. Pune custodian Kamaljit Singh came off his line to collect the ball but palmed it back into the path of Borges who slotted the ball into an empty net.