Pune FC down Royal Wahingdoh 1-0; keep semifinal hopes alive
Pune FC overcame Royal Wahingdoh 1-0 in a must-win game to keep their semifinal hopes alive in the Under-18 I-League 2015-16, Final Phase at the East Bengal Ground in Kolkata on Tuesday.
A second half goal from winger Chesterpaul Lyngdoh (50th minute) proved to be the decider between the two sides handing Pune FC their first win in the final phase.
Having earned three points in this Group-B, Round-3 encounter, Pune FC (4 pts) moved up to third in the standings ahead of Royal Wahingdoh (4 pts) on head-to-head. The result also means Pune FC go into the final group stage match against bottom placed East Bengal (0 pts) with a chance of making it into the last-4 along with both Salgaocar FC (2nd, 6 pts) and Royal Wahingdoh (4th, 4 pts) to join already qualified Aizawl FC (8 pts).
Pune FC began the game in attacking mode and created a couple of close chances early on. While striker Buanthanglun Samte did well to get into spaces, the youngster lacked the killer finish in the rival box.
As the half progressed, Pune FC started dominating the possession. On the other hand, Royal Wahingdoh defended deep and had their custodian to thank after he denied strikers Ashique Kuruniyan, Lalawmpuia and defender Dimple Bhagat on multiple occasions as both sides went into the breather tied at goalless.
Needing a goal, Pune FC came out all guns blazing in the second half as they attacked by pushing high up. The pressure paid off as Pune FC finally broke the deadlock in the 50th minute. Attacker Ashique Kuruniyan held off a defender on the left flank and floated in a cross to the far post finding Chesterpaul who converted with a left footed volley to put Pune FC 1-0 up.
Having taken the lead, Pune FC got a much needed confidence boost and they increased their pressure up front dominating the game entirely. Despite creating numerous scoring opportunities in the final quarter, once again it was lack of finishing that prevented a bigger scoreline as the game ended 1-0 in Pune FC’s favour.
Pune FC now face home side East Bengal in a decisive final round game on Thursday, 4th February, 2016.
Pune FC: Anuj (GK), Sebastian, Sahil, Tarif (40’; Rajat), Dimple, Chesterpaul, Sanchayan (C), Samte (78’; Muirang), Yasir, Lalawmpuia, Ashique
Unused Subs: Shainkhan (GK), Harsharan, Daniel, Omega, Lalrinawma
Yellow Cards: Sahil 32’