Rangdajied United make sensational comeback to down Pune FC

Rangdajied makes a stunning comeback to upset Pune FC in Shillong, Picture Courtesy: PuneFC

Airtel i-League 2013-14
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong
Rangdajied United FC 3-2 Pune FC

RUFC: Riga Mustapha(23rd), Gurjinder Kumar(34th)
PFC: Edmar Figuera(62nd), Seong-Yong Kim(90+3rd), T.Lalnunpuia(90+4th)

Rangdajied United FC delivered arguably the greatest comeback of this season’s Airtel I-League with a 3-2 triumph at the JN Stadium here on Wednesday evening, coming back from two goals to nil to defeat Pune FC.

It went down to the wire and there were delirious scenes at the ground as the hosts scored two goals in second half stoppage time to steal the match from under Pune’s feet.

The visitors took the lead via Mustapha Rahamat and then doubled their advantage via Gurjinder Kumar, to go into half time leading 2-0.

However, Rangdajied displayed a tremendous never-say-die attitude to claw their way back, scoring through Edmar Figueira, Kim Song Yong and T Lalnunpuia.

Pune took the lead in the 23rd minute with Arata Izumi proving crucial. On the right flank, he cut the ball sharply left, beating two Pune players and defenders. Mustapha, however, was in position to rocket the ball with his right foot from just outside the box that hit the lower part of the crossbar and went in.

The visitors made it 2-0 in the 34th minute with a mistake from Poibiang Pohshna. Izumi went deep on the right and crossed the ball in. Pohshna could not clear the ball before Mustapha arrived on the scene and Gurjinder Kumar came steaming in to then chip the ball neatly past Subrata Paul.

Rangdajied were not playing badly, but a couple of defensive lapses cost them greatly. Apart from that early chance, they also restricted themselves to long-range efforts that accomplished little.

The Blues brought another man forward in David Ngaihte in place of Pohshna at the start of the second half and the hosts were instantly the more attacking team with at least three plays forward in the opening five minutes.

Ngaihte brought new life to RUFC and a good effort from him was spectacularly stopped by goalkeeper Amrinder Singh.

In the 54th minute the ball was fed into the box and Ngaihte volleyed looking for the corner of the net but Amrinder dive kept the ball out.

Rangdajied made another substitution, bringing on Manandeep Singh in place of Tomba Singh in the 58th minute.

Three minutes later Rangdajied United were able to reduce the margin through Figueira, a former Pune FC player. The striker, who has missed a few games through injury, delivered a powerful left-footer from outside the box that flew into the back of the net, beating Amrinder.

Pune later made their first change, bringing on S Venkatesh on for Fanai Lalrempuia. Rangdajied decided to go all out for the equaliser by soon after bringing on T Lalnunpuia in place of Munmun Lugun.

In the last minute of normal time, RUFC earned a corner, which was taken quickly. Lyngdoh fed the ball in but the header went over the bar. This was just one of several attacks by the hosts and Pune hardly had a look-in.

A stunning turn of events in stoppage time saw the game turned on its head. Five minutes were added and these proved crucial.

Kim equalised after a massive scramble for the ball in the Pune penalty box. The North Korean happened to be in the right place as the ball popped up at waist level for him to hammer it home.

Just two minutes later it was the turn of substitute Lalnunpuia, who scored the winner with a surprise strike from well outside 30 yards, sending the crowd into raptures just before the referee blew the whistle to bring the curtains down on a fantastic game of football.
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