Pune FC beat Bengaluru FC to remain unbeaten at Home

Airtel i-League 2013-14
Balewadi Spots Complex, Pune
Pune FC 1-0 Bengaluru FC
PFC: James Meyer(71st)

Pune FC bounced back to winning ways with a drama-filled 1-0 win over Bengaluru FC in an I-League 2013-14 Round-9 encounter at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi in Pune on Wednesday.
James Meyer in action against Bengaluru FC, Picture Courtesy:Pune FC

Substitute winger James Meyer scored the only goal of the match in the 71st minute to hand Pune FC all three points and a fourth consecutive home win.

Goalkeepers of either side saved a penalty each in an action packed encounter which saw Pune FC’s Arup Debnath being adjudged the Man of the Match for his performances under the bar; apart from an injury-time penalty save.

With this win, Pune FC move back up to second place in the table with 16 points while Bengaluru FC drop to third with 14 points.

Coach Mike Snoei made five changes to the team bringing in Arup Debnath, Salam Ranjan Singh, Srikanth Ramu, Nikhil Kadam and Anthony D’Souza in the starting lineup.

The hosts soaked pressure in the early minutes and survived a close call when striker Sean Rooney headed Beikhokhei Beingaichho’s freekick from the right inches over the bar.

Pune FC thereafter settled into the game and saw striker Riga Mustapha go close on a couple of occasions. First, he beat a couple of defenders and let fly from 25-yards out, only for keeper Pawan Kumar to produce a diving save.

Six minutes later, Riga went agonisingly wide from 8-yards after defender Gurjinder Kumar went on a solo from the left and created space for him.

A minute after the half-hour mark, Pune FC earned a penalty after medio Arata Izumi was brought down inside the box by defender John Johnson. Gurjinder stepped up to take the spot-kick but saw his penalty saved by Pawan who guessed correctly.

Both sides failed to break the deadlock and went into the break tied at goalless.

The second half began similarly to the first with Bengaluru FC pushing ahead in the early exchanges. However, the Pune FC custodian Arup Debnath – making his debut for the club – and the defensive duo of Ranjan and Anas Edathodika kept all attacks at bay.

Pune FC thereafter surged ahead and kept pressing the visitors’ defense. Around the hour mark, striker Riga saw couple of his strikes go wide.

Midway through the half, substitute Meyer – on for Anthony - handed Pune FC the lead. The winger cut past Keegan Pereira on the right before his precision grounder from 22-yards out left the keeper stranded and went in after hitting the base of the far post.

At the other end, Arup produced a brilliant save to deny Thoi Singh from 6-yards out after earlier spilling an attempt from the same player.

The hosts thereafter held on to their lead as the game headed to injury time. However, a mistimed tackle on John Menyongar by medio Mumtaz Akhtar inside the box handed Bengaluru FC a golden opportunity to equalise right at the death.

As fate would have, Menyongar stepped up and saw his effort saved by Arup. The keeper guessed correctly and saved the attempt with a dive to his right.

The ball however, came off the vertical and hit Arup’s back and started trickling towards the goalline. Arup, in a flash, was quick to grab and pull the ball out in the nick of time before rolling fully past the line to keep Pune FC’s lead intact as Benagulu FC watched their golden opportunity go by.

Pune FC subsequently held on for their fourth consecutive win of the season.
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