Pune FC 2-0 Mohammedan Sporting: Haokip, Fernandes secure three points for the home side
The Red Lizards got back to winning ways and ended their rut of six games without a victory...
By Arjun V Namboothiri
A commanding display by Pune FC saw them secure three points at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune with goals from Thongkhosiem Haokip at the stroke of half time and Gabriel Fernandes early in the second half. At home, this win was a first for Pune FC after four games which includes two losses and as many draws.
The home side made one change to their line-up from their last game over the weekend with Mustapha Riga getting the nod to partner Haokip up front.
Mohammedan made four changes to the side that drew against Dempo in the Federation Cup with R.Dhanarajan, Samson Ramengmawia, Imran Khan and Manish Maithani coming in.
Mike Snoei's outfit had the first chance in the 20th minute when Riga failed to make the most of the opportunity set for him by Anthony D'Souza. Penn Orji too tested Amrinder Singh in goal at the other end.
Mohammedan slowly got back in the thick of things with their top scorer Josimar Martins setting up Ramengmawia whose attempt failed to test the rival custodian.
Fernandes showed great skill on the hour mark by earning a free-kick which followed by a thunderous strike just wide off the post.
A couple of minutes before the half-time whistle, Pune FC got a deserved lead. Riga chased down the right flank from Salam Ranjan clearance and lobbed it in front of the goal which allowed Haokip to score.
The lead was doubled soon after the break as Riga played Anthony D’Souza on the left who cuts back from the edge of the box and played it to Fernandes to score from close range.
Riga, who had two assists to his name, found Haokip did well to control the ball but his strike was saved by the Mohammedan goalkeeper.
Minutes later, Pune FC once again went close. Riga, playing at his best, found Haokip on the run with a perfect through ball. The striker did well to control, but his effort was saved by the diving Mohammedan custodian.
Sandeep Sangha had a notable attempt on goal but his effort didn't bore fruit as Amrinder was equal to task.
With this win, Pune FC are still third on the table and are level on points with Sporting Clube de Goa who have a game in hand. Meanwhile Mohammedan Sporting are placed twelfth on the standings as they have 13 points from 14 matches.
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