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September 19, 2011 4:00 PM IST
 
Alan Gow 43′
 
Robin Singh 82′

Federation Cup: Pune FC 1-2 East Bengal – Red And Gold Brigade Get Their First Win Of The Tournament

The Kolkata giants made a winning comeback in the tournament to garner full points from Pune FC.

By Amoy Ghoshal

I-League : East Bengal vs AIFF XI (Mango Peel)
Federation Cup holders East Bengal recorded their first win of the tournament as they beat Pune FC 2-1 in a Group C encounter at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on Monday evening.

Subrata Paul went off injured for Pune FC in the first half as Alan Gow gave East Bengal a 1-0 lead at the break. Jeje Lalpekhlua cancelled out Gow’s goal but Robin Singh scored a vital winner for Trevor Morgan’s side.

Trevor Morgan made six changes to the eleven that started in the 1-1 draw with Mohammedan Sporting. Robin Singh made a swift recovery from his ankle injury and started alongside Alan Gow, who was making his full debut for the red and gold brigade, while Tolgay Ozbey was dropped to the bench.

India Under-23 skipper Raju Gaikwad got his East Bengal debut while the hero of last year’s Cup final Reisangmi Vashum was given a start at the expense of Sanju Pradhan.

For Pune FC, Kamaljeet Kumar got a start on the left wing in place of the suspended Lester Fernandez while Jeje Lalpekhlua and Mandjou Keita started together upfront.

This was virtually a must win game for the Kolkata outfit and they started strongly as Penn and Mehtab dominated the middle of the park and didn’t allow the Pune FC midfield to settle.

Morgan’s decision to make six changes seemed to work well as his side looked fresher and fitter in the opening stages with Pune hardly having any meaningful attack in the first ten minutes.

However despite East Bengal’s early domination, their only decent chance in the first quarter of the game was a Robin Singh header, which went over the bar, after a good cross from Alan Gow.

The defending champions also tried to use the long throws of Raju Gaikwad but the Pune defence was well marshaled by goalkeeper and skipper Subrata Paul.


Pre-Planned Measures | Pune FC were aware of Gaikwad's long-throw in threat

Pune’s first real chance of the game came just before the 20-minute mark when Mandjou Keita produced a smart save off Sandip Nandy.

Minutes later, at the other end India’s number one came out well to prevent Saumik Dey from having a clear shot on goal after the left back had linked up well with Harmanjot Khabra on the left flank.

But Paul had to be taken off midway through the second period as he suffered a serious injury following a collision with Gow while coming out to collect Naoba Singh’s cross.

After a five minute stop in play, the injured Paul was replaced by young Amrinder Singh. It was a big blow for PFC but a golden opportunity for the 18-year-old Punjabi to make an impression.

As the match resumed, East Bengal continued to press and dominated possession but Pune were defending in numbers and limited the Kolkata giants to very few clear cut chances.

East Bengal finally broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute when Alan Gow found the back of the net after a well placed left footed shot.

The Kolkata side worked the ball well to the Scotsman, who was left unmarked on the right side of the box and the former Rangers player scored with a sumptuous finish.

There were seven minutes of added time and the cup holders could have gone two up but for the brilliance of Chika Wali, who did well to head a dangerous in-swinging free-kick from Mehtab Hussain for a corner.

Worryingly for Derrick Pereira’s side, Guinean striker Keita also got injured before the halftime break and was replaced at the interval by Douhou Pierre.

Despite losing two key players through injury, Pune came out strongly in the second half and could have been level if Venkatesh had made a better attempt on goal after a good low cross from Kamaljeet from the left flank.


Alan Gow | Already beginning to make an impression in the Indian top flight

At the other end, East Bengal wasted a good chance to make it 2-0 as Alan Gow blasted his effort off target after a good pass from Robin Singh.

Derrick Pereira brought on Subhas Singh in place of Venkatesh and the former East Bengal player made an instant impact as his cross from the right wing was headed into the back of the net by Jeje.

East Bengal could have been back in front straight away as Alan Gow’s indirect free-kick from the right found Robin Singh unmarked but the former TFA cadet failed to hit the target.

Minutes later Alan Gow had a decent penalty shout but the referee booked him for simulation. The Scotsman is now ruled out of the clash against Dempo on Wednesday after his second successive yellow card.

Coach Morgan made a positive change as Tolgay came on for Okpara while the hero of the last game against Mohammedan, Sanju Pradhan replaced Vashum.

East Bengal changed their formation to 3-4-3 with Saumik Dey, Raju Gaikwad and Naoba Singh forming the back three.

The Kolkata team’s attack minded strategy nearly paid dividends as a fine move on the left saw Khabra play a teasing cross into the box but Alan Gow failed to hit the target from the six yard box.


Trevor Morgan | Played his final cards which in- turn worked in his favour

Morgan made his final change as Khan Thang Paite replaced Khabra and the substitutions made the red and gold brigade stronger as they looked the most likely side to find the winner especially with Chika Wali getting injured and thus forcing Pune to virtually play with ten men.

With Tolgay, Gow and Robin Singh all on for the champions, it only looked like a matter of time before East Bengal would score but Pune could have made it 2-1 on the break as Subhas Singh got in behind the back four, however Sandip Nandy came out and parried the ball to safety.

The Kolkata giants kept creating openings and Alan Gow should have scored his second when a fine team move saw him free inside the box but his weak shot was saved by Amrinder.

However PFC failed to clear the danger and from the same move Amrinder misjudged the flight of a cross from the left and the ball found its way to Robin Singh, who made it 2-1 as he scored expertly with a left-footed finish.

Morgan’s boys could have won by more as both Robin Singh and Mehtab tested Amrinder with powerful shots.

Pune were unable to create any good chance to equalize as East Bengal held on for three crucial points.


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Pune FC

41
Subrata Paul
Goalkeeper
29′
0.00
2
Othallo Tabia
Defender
18′
0.00
15
Caitano Costa
Defender
0.00
4
Chika Wali
Defender
0.00
5
Gurjinder Kumar
Midfielder
0.00
17
Kamaljeet Kumar
Midfielder
56′
0.00
8
Arata Izumi
Midfielder
0.00
22
Baldeep Singh
Midfielder
0.00
6
0.00
10
Mandjou Keita
Striker
46′
0.00
12
0.00

East Bengal F.C.

0.00
42
Sandip Nandy
Goalkeeper
0.00
29
Saumik Dey
Defender
0.00
4
Uga Okpara
Defender
66′
0.00
2
0.00
8
0.00
12
0.00
8
Penn Orji
Midfielder
0.00
14
Mehtab Hossain
Midfielder
0.00
7
0.00
15
Alan Gow
Striker
43′ 58′
0.00
9

Substitutes

1
Amrinder Singh
Goalkeeper
29′
0.00
10
0.00
11
Douhou Pierre
Midfielder
46′
0.00

Substitutes

0.00
15
Sanju Pradhan
Midfielder
67′
0.00
20
0.00
11

Coach/Manager

-
0.00

Coach/Manager

0.00
-
 
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