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U20 I-League: Pune FC register second consecutive win
Pune FC extended their unbeaten run with a dominating 3-1 win over Dempo SC in their second encounter of the Under-20 I-League (Final Phase) in Kalyani, Kolkata, on Thursday.
Two first half goals, before a brief resistance by Dempo SC despite reduced to nine men apart from a strike by substitute David Lalbiakzara helped Pune FC zoom to the top of the six-team standings with six points in their kitty.
Pune FC share the top spot on points with Mumbai FC, but have a (+5) goal-average compared to +3 by their state counterparts.
A goal each by skipper Suji Kumar (21st minute) and William Lalnunfela (40th minute) and substitute David Lalbiakzara (83rd minute) settled the game for Pune FC, while Dempo SC had Romeo Fernandes (75th minute) pull one back.
Pune FC began in the attack mode and piling up pressure in the Dempo half to dominate the first 10 minutes, which included an on-the-turn try by Shemboi Haokip that went wide after capatalising on a loose ball that came off a long free kick.
Domination possession and creating some more half chances, Pune FC created the first real goal-scoring opportunity in the 12th minute. In an open situation created from a short corner Haokip failed to find the net from 6 yards out.
Five minutes later, Dempo finally got an attack going. After a free kick was blocked by the Pune FC wall, the rebound by Dempo’s striker from 30 yards out was brilliantly tipped over by ‘keeper Amrinder Singh.
A minute later Suji dashed into the box from the right and had his shot deflect over the hapless Dempo ‘keeper in the goal, only for the ball to rebound off the cross bar.
Five minutes later Suji was rewarded for his efforts. A long ball on the left flank found William, in turn, squared the ball to Haokip who picked out Suji in the box with a diagonal chip. Suji, controlling the ball, easily rounded the defender and ’keeper to slot into open net and give Pune FC a 1-0 lead.
Pune FC continued pushing forward with Lalrempuia trying from 25-yards out but wide. During the next ten minutes, striker Haokip had his try miss the goal narrowly after Suji played the ball from the right and then squandered William’s lay-up by blasting over. Hardworking William then almost provided Haokip a sitter however the pass was blocked and to make matters worse medio Nikhil Kadam missed from close range after pouncing on the loose ball.
Thereafter, Pune FC survived couple of Dempo attacks. ‘Keeper Amrinder producing a one-handed save on the first, while defender Lalrimawma Rintea coming up with a goalmouth clearance on the other.
William Lalnunfela put Pune FC two up five minutes from half-time. William timed his run to perfection to control a defense splitting pass played by F Lalrempuia. Running the length William slotted home with ease past the Goan custodian.
Pune FC went into the break with a two-goal cushion.
Pune FC began the second half with a cautious approach. As Dempo went all out attack, Pune FC defense did well to keep rival attackers at bay.
Ten minutes into the half and a scuffle broke out between Pune FC’s Rintea and Dempo’s Micky Vaz. Both received a yellow card each in the process. As this was Micky’s second booking, he received his marching orders. It was advantage Pune FC as Dempo SC were down to 10 men.
Just past the hour mark, Dempo were down to nine men. This time medio Tunard Fernandes receiving his marching orders for a high boot challenge on William on the edge of the box.
Meanwhile, Dempo SC did the braveheart act and continued to attack the Pune FC goal despite being 2-men down and kept ’keeper Amrinder busy.
Suji Kumar had a chance of doubling his tally in the 74th minute. His shot cannoned off the post after he did well to connect a low cross from substitute David down the left flank.
A minute later, Romeo Fernandes pulled one back for Dempo SC. Off a counter from the right, a defensive lapse from Rintea led to a loose ball. Romeo latched onto it to slot it home.
Pune FC then shifted gears to go on the offensive mode; only for some wayward finishing in the final third letting them down.
Into the final ten minutes of the game and Pune FC finally got the third goal through winger David Lalbiakzara. Suji Kumar got the ball on the right, crossed it cleverly back to David on top of box, who in turn showed good composure and slot to top far corner.
The game finished with Pune FC having some more chances, again failing to find the spark in the final third.
Starting XI: Amrinder (GK), James, Rintea (87′; Kamardeep), Ranjan, Gobin, Nikhil (71′; David), Puia, Abung, Suji (C), William, Haokip (77′; Deepak)
Un-used Subs: Bhushan (GK), Surjit, Kartik, Shiva