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U20 I-League: Pune FC ride on Haokip’s trick, thrash HAL 5-1
Pune FC registered their best-ever win in the Under-20 I-League handing Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bangalore a 5-1 thrashing in their opener at the Fr. Agnel Football ground, Navi Mumbai on Friday.
A first half hat trick by striker Thongkosiem Haokip (26th, 38th, 45+1’ minutes) and a goal each by F Lalrempuia (59th) and Thangjam Abung Meetie (71st) powered Pune FC win.
HAL, however, had the distinction of scoring the opening goal of the match through Sanju Kumar in the 7th minute of play.
In the sweltering humidity of Navi Mumbai, Pune FC was shocked by an early goal when Sanju Kumar, from close, tapped in with the defence beaten.
The goal resulted in an aggressive retaliation from Pune FC as they started dominating possession over the next twenty minutes. During this period, Gobin’s long shot went just over whereas Lalrempuia’s freekick was blocked by the HAL wall.
V Karthik of HAL received a yellow card in the 15th minute for his dangerous challenge on Nikhil Kadam of Pune FC.
After dominating play, Pune FC’s effort bore fruit when Haokip opened the scoring in the 26th minute when he hammered home a 30-yard thunderbolt.
Close on the heels of the goal the Bangalore-side made its first substitution with Vijay Prabhankar coming in for R. Mohan in the 35th minute.
Eleven minutes after scoring their first, Pune FC had Thangjam Abung Meetie’s cross from the right find an unmarked Haokip nod home.
Haokip completed his ‘trick in the second minute of added time, tapping in the open net after Nikhil sent a ball in from the right after dribbling past defenders. At half time Pune FC led 3-1.
The second half started with a cautious approach from HAL, however as Pune FC pressed hard they earned a penalty-kick closed to the hour-mark, when Abung was was brought down inside the box by the late challenge of V Karthik.
F Lalrempuia converted the penalty cleanly; in his second attempt as the first was disallowed for infringement and help Pune FC lead 4-1.
Riding on confidence, Pune FC added their fifth goal in the 71st minute. Some good work on the left flank by substitute David Lalbiakzara resulted in a save from the HAL goalkeeper leaving Abung capatalise on the chance with a clean tap-in.
Five minutes from the final whistle, David found himself in the clear again. This time though he went for a shot and his chip went just over.
Pune FC had one more chance to make it a tennis score when Deepak Kumar’s shot hit the post from close range way into added time.
Pune FC now faces Air-India in their next game on 23rd April in what expects to be a big Maharashtra derby.