Airtel i-League 2013-14: Pune FC defeat ten men Mohun Bagan

Thongkhosiem Haokip of Pune FC heading the ball home to give Pune FC the lead, Picture Courtesy: Pune FC

Airtel i-League 2013-14
Pune FC 2-0 Mohun Bagan
PFC: Thongkhosiem Haokip(72nd), James Meyer(81st)

Pune FC opened their home I-League campaign in style defeating ten-man Mohun Bagan AC 2-0 in an I-League 2013-14 Round-4 encounter at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Mhalunge-Balewadi, Pune on Thursday.

Second half strikes from substitute Thongkhosiem Haokip (72nd minute) and winger James Meyer (81st) handed Pune FC all three points. The visitors were reduced to ten men after defender Celestine Anyiche received his marching orders for a second bookable offence in the 53rd minute.

With this win Pune FC jump back to the second place with seven points from three games while Mohun Bagan drop to tenth place with two points from three games.

Coach Mike Snoei made one change to the team that faced Shillong Lajong in Round 2 with striker Raul Fabiani – back after his suspension - replacing winger Velington Rocha.

The hosts went on the offensive straight from the word go and had attempts from midfielders Douhou Pierre and Arata Izumi blocked by the Bagan defense.

Both sides thereafter settled into the game and kept on pushing for the opener. The hosts went close in the 28th minute when defender Gurjinder Kumar’s brilliantly chipped cross into the box from the left found Fabiani, whose volley went just wide.

Seven minutes past the half-hour mark, Bagan went close through striker Eric Muranda. Playmaker Yusa Katsumi’s freekick from the left flank was flicked on by the Pune FC defense and found Eric at the far post. However the Kenyan striker’s attempt was saved brilliantly by Amrinder Singh.

The hosts went close a minute into first half when Fabiani’s header off defender Calum Angus’ corner went just over the horizontal.

Both teams went into the break tied at goalless.

The hosts had a close moment a minute into the second half when Bagan striker Eric pulled clear after ‘keeper Amrinder misjudged a long ball and hit from inside the box. However defender Angus saved the day for Pune FC with a well-timed tackle to block the shot.

Six minutes into the half the visitors were reduced to ten men. Pune FC striker Fabiani tried to control a long ball ahead of Anyichie who went down claiming Fabiani’s boot had struck him. However when the 6’6” tall Pune FC striker tried to give the Nigerian a helping hand, the Nigerian reacted physically, prompting the referee to show him his second yellow of the match.

Pune FC capitalized on their one-man-advantage and took the lead midway through the half. 20-year-old substitute striker Haokip – promoted from the academy and on for the injured Fabiani – headed in defender Angus’ pinpoint freekick from the left flank at the far post to give Pune FC the lead.

Ten minutes later, Meyer doubled Pune FC’s advantage with a calm finish. Right-back Othallo Tabia’s cross in from the right wasn’t properly cleared and Meyer lurking in the box slotted home.

Substitute Anthony D’Souza, on for Nikhil Kadam, almost made it three in the final minute of the game for Pune FC. Haokip showed brilliant control in the box and laid off for Anthony whose curling shot was saved by Bagan keeper Sandip Nandy.

Man of the Match: Calum Angus
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