Naushad Moosa's side were handed a footballing lesson in Pune by Derrick Pereira's outfit...Pune FC put Air India to the sword, beating them 6-0, in an I-League encounter at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune on Saturday.
Boima Karpeh put his side ahead in the 26th minute, before James Moga doubled it in the 39th minute. The Airmen absolutely capitulated in the second half, with Douhou Pierre, Moga, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Nikhil Kadam, all getting on the score-sheet.
Air India named a starting eleven with the foreign contingent of Ezeh Heny and E.O Junior on the bench. Branco Cadozo and Prakash Thorat lead the line for the Airmen.
Z. Ralte replaced the suspended Chika Wali, while Boima Karpeh started alongside James Moga in attack.
The game had an extremely tame beginning to it, with the first ten minutes hardly producing any action of note.
Both the sides seemed more intent on gauging each other during that period, with neither strike force getting any decent service.
It all changed in the 26th minute though, as Boima Karpeh scored, straight from a counter-attack, after Amrinder Singh cleared a cross into the box by P. Mohanraj, and the ball fell into the path of the Australian, who cut past an Air India defender, before catching Sukhwinder Singh unaware, at his near post.
The goal meant Naushad Moosa’s side had to push forward in search of an equalizer, leaving a lot of space at the back for Moga and Karpeh to exploit.
The South Sudanese striker then came close twice to doubling his side’s lead, as first his effort came off the post, while soon afterwards, another shot from him was well saved by the opposition keeper.
Moga though was not to be denied, as a loose ball fell into his path in the 39th minute, and he duly dispatched it off with aplomb, to get himself on the score-sheet.
The Airmen were unable to muster a response in the rest of the half, as Pune FC went into half-time, ahead by two goals.
In a bid to claw something back in the tie, Moosa threw in Ezeh Henry into the fray.
After some brilliant link-up play between Moga and Douhou Pierre in the 52nd minute led to the midfielder getting on the score-sheet as well.
Air India looked completed deflated after that goal, and Pratik Chowdhury bought down Moga in the box, conceding a penalty, which the South Sudanese player himself took, but saw his effort come back off the post.
But the Airmen duly conceded another in the 67th minute, as Boima Karpeh set-up James Moga, who powered in his shot at the first post, with Sukhwinder Singh hardly moving from his spot in-between the sticks.
Substitute Jeje Lalpekhlua then got into the act, as Moga put him through on goal, with the former simply sliding the ball home in the 74th minute.
Jeje then picked up an assist in the 86th minute, this time picking out youngster Nikhil Kadam, who placed the ball past the clueless Sukhwinder Singh.
Eventually the referee blew the final whistle, much to the relief of Moosa’s side, who were completely outclassed.
With this win, Pune FC moved to 43 points, but stay third, due to an inferior head-to-head record against East Bengal. Air India meanwhile stay in the relegation zone with 19 points.
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