Naushad Moosa's side are relegated from the top division as they succumbed to a second successive defeat in the Maharashtra derby...Derrick Pereira’s side brushed aside Air India for the second time in 8 days, beating the Airmen 4-0, in an I-League encounter at the Balewadi stadium on Sunday.
James Moga started the scoring in the 34th minute, before Douhou Pierre added another in the 49th minute, before getting another in the 77th minute. Boima Karpeh rounded off the scoring in the 84th minute.
Pune FC gave Fanai Lalrempuia his first start ever in the I-League, with Douhou Pierre moving to an attacking midfield position. Ezeh Henry was declared fit enough to start in attack, and partnered Elijah Junior upfront, while Omeje Amos dropped back from midfield into defense, to add some solidity to the Airmen’s backline.
James Moga almost gave the Red Lizards a lead in the first minute itself, but his shot from a Paite cross could just find the side-netting. The South Sudanese striker soon had another chance, after an elaborate build-up which saw Douhou chip the ball into Karma Tsewang’s path, who headed it down for Moga, but after shaking off two defenders, failed to hit the target. The striker missed another chance when Bubai Singh thwarted him from close range, after Douhou Pierre had found him with a cross.
Amrinder Singh on the other hand was called into action for the first time, when Ezeh Henry skipped past the Pune FC defenders, and unleashed a shot which the custodian did well to parry away from danger. The striker tried his luck again soon after, this time from long range, but Amrinder was yet again upto the task.
Eventually in the 34th minute, Moga finally took one of the chances that came his way, heading home a pin-point Khangthang Paite cross.
Jonychand Singh almost equalized soon afterwards for his side, but his vicious shot from distance, which swerved along the way, was well saved by Amrinder, to keep his side ahead. That proved to be the last bit of real action in the half, as the referee soon blew for half-time.
The second half started just like the first session, with Pune FC attacking from the off, and they duly went ahead in the 49th minute, when Douhou and Moga combined to rob Air India of the ball, and then the South Sudanese striker laid the ball into the path of the midfielder, who finished with aplomb.
The Airmen’s reponse was pretty lame, as they allowed the opposition to fully control possession. The Red Lizards attacked in waves, and looked likely to get the next goal of the game, but their final pass often let them down. Eventually though, in the 77th minute the inevitable happened and Douhou added to his and Pune FC’s tally on the night, as he received a throw, skipped past a couple of weak challenges, before slotting the ball home.
Moga shortly afterwards came close to adding a fourth to the tally of the home side, but his effort from distance came off the post and went out. That proved to be his last bit of action in the game, as he was soon subbed in favour fo Boima Karpeh.
The Australian came on and immediately put his side 4-0 ahead, as he controlled a long pass by Chika Wali, before muscling out one defender and poking the ball home at the near post, in the 84th minute.
Jeje Lalpekhlua should have added to the tally soon afterwards, but he missed with the goal wide open, after Sukhwinder’s save from a Karpeh effort, fell kindly into his path. That proved to be the last bit of real action in the game, as Pune FC marched to 49 points from 25 games, 2 behind leaders Churchill Brothers, who have a game in hand.
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