Karim Bencherifa's side put in a top display on Saturday and deservedly won three points against the Red Lizards...
In what was a heated battle at the Barasat Stadium, Mohun Bagan produced a fantastic display and thereby garnered much needed three points against Pune FC with the scoreline reading 3-1.
Odafa Okolie scored the opening goal in the 30th minute and Ram Malik doubled the advantage in the 75th minute. Four minutes later, Thongkhosiem Haokip scored for the visitors before Odafa settled the game with a strike in the 88th minute.
In the absence of the injured Manish Bhargav, Sathyan Sabeeth was handed a start on the wings by coach Karim Bencherifa. Izumi Arata was back from suspension and made it into the starting eleven for Mike Snoei’s side.
The game started at a frantic pace with both teams looking to seize the advantage. Ram Malik made a couple of good runs while Pune FC looked to hit on the counter.
Izumi Arata had a decent chance as he invaded the Bagan box and his left footed shot failed to test the goalkeeper much to the relief of the home team.
Mustapha Riga set up Douhou Pierre whose effort from outside the box went wide in the 23rd minute.
Odafa’s free-kick from outside the box went just above the target as Amrinder Singh was rooted to the spot.
At the half hour mark, Bagan surged ahead with Odafa Okolie scoring only his second goal this season. Arata failed to clear from a corner, Sathyan Sabeeth picked up the pieces and found Christopher Chizoba. The Nigerian did well to find an unmarked Odafa inside the box who tapped it in with ease.
Soon after, Odafa released Chizoba in space but the player took way too much time before sending it back to his skipper whose shot went straight into the hands of Amrinder Singh.
In the 41stminute, Odafa eased past a couple of Pune bodies and made space for himself but his effort went inches wide.
Eight minutes into the second half and Sabeeth made a goal-line clearance to deny Calum Angus’ header. This was followed by Riga’s shot being saved by Shilton Paul. James Meyer missed a sitter on the rebound in what was the easiest chance of the match.
Shilton Paul made a diving save to a Mustapha Riga shot, but James Meyer misses a sitter on the rebound. That was the easiest chance of the day, by far.
Odafa should have doubled the lead as he was sent clean through on goal. He attempted to round off the goalkeeper who made a crucial block and off the rebound, Malik’s attempt didn’t trouble the Pune FC rearguard.
Amrinder Singh made a horrible mistake at the back which allowed Bagan to score the second. Off a through-ball, Malik ran alongside Angus while Amrinder came off his line to deny the winger. However the ball went through his legs and Malik did the needful leaving Angus wondering as to what went wrong.
Pune FC began their resurgence with a brilliantly worked move from the left which saw Riga’s effort being parried away by Paul in goal.
Thongkhosiem Haokip pulled one back for his side as he slotted the ball into an empty net. Angus’ powerful drive from a free-kick came off the post and Haokip on the rebound scored for the visitors.
The crossbar came to Pune FC’s rescue as Odafa’s attempt left Amrinder Singh rooted to his spot.
However in the 88th minute Odafa soon made amends as he ran from the left into the box and despite being under pressure from two defenders, he scored his second to send the assembled fans into ecstasy.
Towards the closing stages, Bagan held firm at the back and saw off the game with relative ease.
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