Pune FC bounce back to winning ways; down United SC 3-2 in a thriller
Pune FC fought back from a goal down to defeat United SC 3-2 in a thrilling U19 I-League Final Phase encounter at the DSK Football Field in Loni on Monday.
In a hard fought game, striker Biswajit Sarkar (10th minute) gave United SC an early lead before Pune FC struck thrice towards the end of the first half through skipper Altamash Sayed (39th, 41st) and attacker Md. Ashique (45+2nd).
Defender Subrata Lohar (76th) managed to pull one back for the opponents in the second half but it only proved to be a consolation goal.
The fourth round win took Pune FC’s tally to seven points as they moved up to second in the table level on points with leaders AIFF Elite Academy (7 pts) but behind on goal difference.
Going into the game, Pune FC Coach Naushad Moosa made one change handing a start to defender Manoranjan Singh in place of Asish Rai.
The game began slowly with both sides creating chances in the opening exchanges as Sk. Azaruddin for United SC and Sannik Murmu for Pune FC went close!who had a chance for Pune FC.
As Pune FC settled into the game, once again it was a defensive lapse that hit them hard. With Dimple Bhagat failing to clear a ball inside the box, Biswajit capitalised and slotted home from close to give Kolkata side the lead in the 10th minute.
Having conceded an early goal, Pune FC didn’t back down and began pushing further up. In the 25th minute, Pune FC almost pulled level when Chesterpaul Lyngdoh attempted a clever chip from inside the box on Asheer Akhtar’s perfect cross in from the right. The attempt however was palmed over by an outstretched United SC keeper.
Pune FC’s persistence finally paid off as they pulled level in the 39th minute. On a counter attack from the left, Dimple sent in a neat cross to Ashique just outside the box. The lanky attacker laid off for Altamash and the skipper drilled home a low shot from distance.
Altamash struck once again two minutes later as Pune FC took a well-deserved lead. Once again, Dimple began the move with a deep cross in from the left on a counter. The aerial ball was met well by Altamash who headed home from the edge of the box to complete his brace.
Pune FC doubled their lead into first half injury time with a well-worked goal. Altamash down the middle played wide to Chesterpaul Lyngdoh on the right who crossed into the box and the ball was met by Ashique in front of the goal. His first attempt on the volley was cleared off the line by a defender but he did well to slot home the rebound to give Pune FC a 3-1 lead going into the breather.
The second half was a different story with both sides playing cautiously. Nonetheless it was Pune FC who dominated the majority of the proceedings.
Ten minutes in, Pune FC went close when Dimple’s freekick from the right flank went just over the horizontal.
Around the hour mark, Pune FC had back-to-back chances through Dimple and Ashique. While both of them failed to take a shot from inside the box, a stray ball fell for Asheer Akhtar whose attempt was brilliantly kept out by the keeper.
As Pune FC continued to attack, a freak foul conceded behind by the defense resulted in the opponents pulling a goal back in the 76th minute. Defender Subrata Lohar curled home a freekick after keeper Sukhadev Patil had clashed with an opponent just outside the box trying to clear.
At the other end, Pune FC were denied a clear penalty when Chesterpaul’s attempt on the turn was handled by a defender two minutes later.
Into the final ten minutes, Pune FC created numerous chances but fell short in increasing their advantage. Nonetheless they managed to hold on to their one goal lead and secure their second win of the campaign.
Pune FC: Sukhadev (GK), Dimple, Asheer, Ashique, Manoranjan (90+3’; Asish), Sanchayan (56’; Arif), Altamash (C), Chesterpaul, Myron, Sannik, Yasir (90+5’; Farukh)
Unused Subs: Tanmay (GK), Jesmon, Pradeesh, Akshay