A fantastic performance by Gurpreet Sandhu and Ryuji Sueoka won three crucial points for the away team...
Chidi Edeh and Seiminlen Doungel scored two crucial goals in the second half to guide East Bengal to a 2-1 win over Pune FC at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune. Anthony D’Souza had put the home side into the lead in the first half and despite having dominated the proceedings for most of the game, their failure to take their chances coupled with defensive errors saw three points slip away.
The two coaches made several changes from last weekend when the two sides met. Mike Sneoi brought Anas Edathodika, Zohmingliana Ralte, Anthony D'Souza, Mumtaz Akhtar and Thongkhosiem Haokip into the line-up. Naoba Singh, Gurpreet Sandhu, Shylo Malswamtulunga and Subodh Kumar were the changes for Armando Colaco’s side after the defeat to Churchill Brothers in the midweek.
The first chance came from a set-piece when Calum Angus’s free-kick from outside the box went over the bar in the 13th minute after Haokip was fouled by Arnab Mondal.
Shylo Malswamtulunga sent in a delightful cross for Chidi Edeh who did well to control it. He made space for himself with a couple of touches before unleashing a shot which didn’t trouble the custodian.
The very next minute saw Amrinder Singh called into action as he blocked Ryuji Sueoka’s attempt after he collected a Malswatulunga cross which evaded a couple of Pune FC defenders.
Just after the half hour mark, Douhou Pierre did well to send in a cross from the right which was back-heeled by Haokip. Sandhu did just about enough to keep the ball from going in.
Prakash Thorat was introduced in place of Gabriel Fernandes was lively on the right and caused Robert a lot of trouble.
Pune FC were lucky not to go a goal down when Subodh Kumar’s long range shot came off the post. This was after Gaikwad’s throw-in was cleared as far as the East Bengal midfielder whose right footed shot evaded everyone and caught the Pune FC goalkeeper by surpise.
The deadlock was broken in the 39th minute eventually. Riga sent the ball for Thorat who passed it back too the playmaker. Riga passed it for Haokip, who realizing the ball was moving away from him, got the faintest of touches for Anthony D’Souza who did well to place it home.
Five minutes after the re-start, D’Souza’s corner-kick missed just about everyone as it came off the post before Sandhu collected it safely. The very next attacking move saw Thorat and Riga combine to release D’Souza on the left whose first time cross only needed a touch to go home as Haokip just about couldn’t get to the end of it.
Sandhu was at his best as he denied Riga with two fantastic saves.
The equalizer came in the 72nd minute when Cavin Lobo played the ball for Sueoka who made an intelligent run inside the box catching the Pune FC defense unaware. His first time cross saw Chidi Edeh get the better of Ralte at the far post and slot it home to make it 1-1.
Three minutes later, it was substitute Seiminlen Doungel who headed from inside the six-yard box with Angus being at fault. Robert played the ball to Sueoka and the Japanese’s cross was met by a sublime header of Doungel which gave goalkeeper Amrinder Singh little chance to affect a save.
However Pune FC had a chance to restore parity late in the game when Mirjan Pavlovic did well to evade a couple of defenders by cutting in and saw his shot being blocked by Sandhu in the 88th minute.
The score-line remained the same until the final whistle as Pune FC’s poor run of form continued while East Bengal would certainly be buoyed with the victory.