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U20 I-League: Pune FC quell Churchill Bros. 3-0 in first-half effort
Pune FC continued their unbeaten run from the group phase with a convincing 3-0 win over Churchill Brothers SC, Goa in the Under-20 I-League final phase at Kalyani, Kolkata West Bengal on Sunday.
Three first half strikes put Pune FC on the road of winning full points from their opener. Gobin Singh (10th minute) opened Pune FC account before Thongkhosiem Haokip (37th minute) and Nikhil Kadam (42nd minute) capitalised on Goan ‘keeper mistakes to swell the tally.
Pune FC went into the offensive mode right from the beginning forcing a corner in the opening minute. Nikhil’s effort had Haokip head just wide from the post.
The early confidence that Pune FC gained resulted in a goal nine minutes later. Suji Kumar on the left flank did well to find Haokip in the center. Haokip released the ball to Gobin Singh on the overlap. Gobin who by then moved into the penalty box, keep his cool and hammer the ball home to the right of the Churchill ’keeper Melroy Fernandes.
As the half progressed, Pune FC started dominating the possession, hardly giving any chance for the opponents to construct a move. During this period, Nikhil had two chances to double Pune FC’s advantage, both attempts going wide. The first was a long try from 30 yards out after collecting an Abung Meetei cross, while the next was off a free kick.
Just past the half hour mark, Pune FC missed a chance of going 2-up when Haokip’ s shot from inside the box went just over after Nikhil, on the left, did well to squeeze in a pass.
Haokip did make amends to the earlier miss, when a minute later he doubled Pune FC’s advantage. William Lalnunfela, on the right, found Nikhil on the top of the box with a crisp cross. Utilizing the open space ahead, Nikhil let fly from distance only to have the Goan keeper block and deny him. Haokip, in the right place at the right time, found the ball at his feet tapped in.
Five minutes later Nikhil put Pune FC 3-0 up. The move initiated by William had Nikhil run clear to the through pass played to perfection. Nikhil, off on a solo, got into the clear after a one-two passing sequence with Haokip. Nikhil’s first attempt on the goal was blocked by the ‘keeper, but was quick enough to again exploit the rebound on offered.
Pune FC went into the half time with a three-goal advantage.
The second half began with Churchill creating their first real opportunity of the match. But ‘keeper Amrinder Singh was on his toes to deny Churchill with a good save.
Pune FC then brought on substitute striker Deepak Kumar to replace goal-scorer Haokip. Deepak didn’t take much time to get into the game and created an opportunity almost instantly when he found unmarked Lalrempuia in the center. Lalrempuia showing control got past two defenders before shooting inches wide.
Thereafter, Nikhil had a chance to double his tally after he combined well with Suji Kumar and Gobin, only to shoot wide.
Substitute Deepak missed the chance of getting on the score-sheet, shooting over after going on a great solo.
The match ended with Pune FC emerging clear winners in a one-sided affair.
Starting XI: Amrinder Singh; Ranjan Singh, James Naorem, Lalrenwma, Gobin Singh, Suji Kumar (Capt.), Lalrempuia, Abung Meetie, Nikhil Kadam (82′; Kartik), William L, Thongkhosiem Haokip (55′; Deepak Kumar)