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Pune FC miss chances, share point with CRPF
Pune FC did everything in their capacity to score and ended with a goalless draw against Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in a Group-II encounter of the 125th Durand Cup.
At the end of regulation time, all present agreed that it was not Pune FC’s day. Creating chances galore, Pune FC fell short in finishing and at times remained unlucky in their bid to cut down an ultra defensive CRPF.
Pune FC, who should have wrapped the game with a handful of goals, instead, ended a frustrated lot.
The first half was all about camping in the opponents half and CRPF moving forward whenever Pune FC lost the ball in attack. In the second session, the woodwork denied tries by Azim Hasan and Gurjinder Kumar, before the CRPF goalkeeper tipped over Arata Izumi’s overhead volley.
Pune FC began the game dominating possession. Subash made an early run on the left but had his cross fall short of Jeje in the box. Striker Jeje Lalpekhlua, who was also the skipper, then created the first chance of the game. Beating two defenders he released for Arata whose try was blocked.
Couple of minutes later Pune FC scored. Defender Gurjinder Kumar drilled home a brilliant freekick from 25-yards out only to have the referee cancelled out the claim after signaling for an indirect freekick. Jeje then had a clear chance to open the scoring. Controlling Srikant Ramu’s cross from the right inside the box, Jeje shielded a defender but failed to get enough sting to his left footed try.
Content to hold back, defend and bank on the occasional counter, CRPF moved in through Varinder. Capatalising on a long ball, Varinder attempted a couple of yards inside the penalty box with just defender Chika Wali to deal. However, the weak try went through and posed no danger to Pune FC.
Twenty minutes into the first-half, Pune FC forced a spate of corners through long range efforts by Jeje, Shanmugam Venkatesh and Gurjinder that kept the goalkeeper busy.
Nearing the half hour mark, Subash had two close chances of putting Pune FC in the lead. First, Karma Tsewang from the right got into the box and set Subash with a gentle tap. Subash’s attempt ended getting blocked. Later right-back Srikanth Ramu sent Subash in the clear. With just the keeper upfront, Subash lobbed over the horizontal and let go of a possible goal.
Defender Anas Edathodika, meanwhile, was shown yellow for a challenge he withdrew. At the other end, Subash was tackled hard and needed attention before continuing.
As halftime, the score remained goalless with Pune FC’s domination near total. The fact that goalkeeper Amarinder made a handful of collections making up the fact.
The second half was no different story as Pune FC continued to surge forward. The physical nature of the game was evident as Mumtaz Akthar was brought down by the rival which earned him a yellow card.
Ten minutes into the half, Pune FC went close to taking the lead. Striker Subash Singh cross in from the left to find an unmarked Arata in the box. With his back to the goal, Arata tried an overhead volley to the top of the goal. However, CRPF ‘keeper Shyam tipped the ball over for a corner.
Coach Derrick Pereira then brought on Nikhil Kadam and Asim Hassan in place of Srikanth Ramu and Karma Tsewang. Minutes later Venkatesh was brought down resulting in another CRPF player booked.
Defender N. Mohanraj was brought in after the hour mark to replace Venkatesh. The defence realigned as Mohanraj went into the left flank and Gurjinder switched to the right. The midfield, too, was realigned as Nikhil went to the left while Arata took the right flank. Asim and Mumtaz marshaled the central midfield.
Five minutes after the hour mark, Asim went agonizingly close as he hit the crossbar with a strike from 30-yards out. Asim, then, set off solo down the centre to put Subash clear. Utalising the opportunity, Subash chipped for Jeje in the box only to have the keeper cut off the move with a great collection.
CRPF tested Pune FC keeper Amrinder with a couple of shots, but the Punjabi lad was not to be troubled much. Similarly, Pune FC’s Mumtaz repeatedly attempted from long but to no avail.
Pune FC went close once more when Arata cut back from the right to find Gurjinder who bulldozed into the box and released a grounder. The shot hit the base of the second post in what was the second instance of Pune FC being denied by the framework in the second period.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, CRPF employed time wasting tactics to get a point out of the match. Long clearances and going down to the ground were few tactics used by the opponents.
In the closing minutes Nikhil set off on a solo. Cutting past two defenders down the left he did well to control just when he seemed to overdo his dribble. Holding on well, he set Asim with a chance from 22-yards out, which ended wide.
Mohanraj had a try from long straight to the rival custodian, before Subash earned a corner kick to raise expectations in the final minutes.
Thursday 23rd August, 2012, 5:00 PM
Durand Cup – Group Stage, Match 1
Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi
The Line Up
CRPF: SD Shyam (GK), Y Priyo (C), Gurlal, Wasim, Krishna, Amumacha, Sugesh, Hashib, Shibu (90+1′; Jaswant), Varinder (79′; Somarjeet) , Athoiba
Pune FC: Amrinder (GK), Chika, Gurjinder, Anas, Srikanth (56′; Asim), Mumtaz, Arata, Venkatesh (60′; Mohanraj), Karma (56′; Nikhil), Subash, Jeje (C)
Unused Subs: Shahinlal (GK), Othallo, Costa, Rocha
Yellow Cards: Mumtaz Akhtar, Anas Edathodika
Referee: Naveen Sundi
Assistant Referee: Biplab Podar, Vikram Bhandari
Fourth Official: A Arjunan
Match Commissioner: Ravishankar J