Young Pune FC team go down to Army Red in Durand Cup

Pune FC Press Release

Pune FC go down fighting in Durand Cup
Pune FC were handed a 2-0 opening game jolt by Army Red in the quarterfinal group phase of the 126th Durand Cup at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi on Monday.

A goal in either half: first off a penalty-kick conversion by Vipin TV (36th minute) and later by Lallidianmawia (87th) left Pune FC choked.

Playing with a squad comprising of half who were playing their first big match, Pune FC took time to settle down as the opponents came in with full force. After a cautious beginning, Pune FC soon got into the groove and fought tooth-and-nail with the soldiers for every ball.

The Caitano Costa-led team then played cleverly and restricted the physically superior Army team to a midfield battle with both the teams failing to create any clear scoring chances.

Pune FC, however, went close creating the first chance. Striker Subhasish Bose (9th) let-fly a powerful left footer, which ended being saved by the diving Army goalkeeper AK Balwant.

Responding to the attack, the opponents came close to scoring five minutes later. Arjun Tudu’s try from just outside the left side of the box rattled the crossbar. Army Red kept the heat on, and six minutes later, winger Santu Subba shot just wide from inside the penalty area. Skipper Arjun Tudu then came close to scoring when he let fly a shot from outside the box, which went agonisingly wide.

The young players of Pune FC were feeling the pressure, and Kaushal Singh earned the first yellow card of the game in the 23rd minute. The Red Lizards were then dealt a huge blow, a minute later, when senior midfielder Prakash Thorat had to limp off the field due to an injury. Thorat was replaced by Altamash Sayed.

In the 36th minute, Pune FC conceded a penalty after goalkeeper Shahinlal Meloly brought down Lallidianmawia inside the box. The resultant spot kick was put in by Vipin TV after he sent Meloly to the wrong side.

As the Army team continued to threaten, Henry Monsang came in with a fine tackle to deny Lallidianmawia another sniff at the goal, a minute before halftime.

After the interval, the opponents continued their upward surge as DK Mahto came in with a shot from across the goal, which, however, went just over the bar. At the hour mark, Pune FC's Henry was brought down outside the box and the resultant free kick stooped dangerously towards Subhasish who failed to connect well.

Shahinlal then came in with another close range save from Herojit Singh after Shadip Rai had made a delightful cross from the right flank. It was then Diganta Khaddar who came close to equalizing in the 76th minute with a shot from outside the penalty area which flew just inches wide of the goal.

Shahinlal once again produced a brilliant diving save in the 81st minute, after Herojit had let fly a shot from just outside the penalty area.

With Pune FC desperately seeking an equaliser, their all-out attack led to Army Red take advantage with a swift counter, which ended with Lallidianmawia scoring from close range to make it 2-0.

In the 90th minute, Pune FC’s Kaushal Singh was sent off for his second yellow, after he brought down Herojit at the edge of the penalty Box. The subsequent free-kick by Arjun Tudu was then brilliantly tipped over by Shahinlal to keep the scoreline at 2-nil.

Pune FC next play ONGC on September 13th.
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