Derrick Pereira's side completed a full circle as the hosts were the only team among all I-League sides whom Pune FC had never defeated in any competition...Pune FC defeated Shillong Lajong FC 2-1 in an I-League Round-13 encounter played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong, on Saturday.
Jeje Lalpekhlua (29') and his substitute Khanthang Paite (48') were the two scorers for the winners while Govin Singh (59') pulled one back for the home side before Lajong FC's goalkeeper Lalthuanmawia Ralte was sent off (89') late in the match.
The game began with Lajong dominating the proceedings in the first quarter. Fourteen minutes into the game, James Moga created the first opportunity for the visitors when he set up winger Karma Tsewang only for the 'keeper Lalthuanmawia Ralte to save a long range effort.
Three minutes later, Pune FC defender Gurjinder Kumar had his attempt blocked from the top of the box, while Chika Wali wasted another chance from a flag-kick.
Abhra Mondal also had some work to do in between the sticks as the goalkeeper saved a long range effort from Sushil Kumar Singh with much ease, as the Lajong striker was once again the guilty party in front of goal among the other chances that fell to him.
A minute from the half-hour mark, Jeje put Pune FC in the lead. The striker controlled skipper Douhou Pierre’s cross in from the right and trickled it into the goal.
Jeje, meanwhile, ended his day out as he limped off injured and in-came Khanthang Paite.
Desmond Bulpin's side almost pulled one back after Sushil's shot from top of the box saw Mondal, who was at his best, magnificently parry the shot wide at full stretch.
Walking over, Paite doubled his side's lead, three minutes into the second half. The winger, on a well-timed run, headed home a perfect cross from Karma on the right.
Tempers flared as the referee booked SLFC’s Minchol Son and Moga for getting into a tussle in the 55th minute.
Govin Singh pulled one back a minute before the hour mark to send the home fans into a frenzy. He netted off an innocuous long ranger at the near post as Mondal was caught flat footed anticipating a cross.
Having reduced the margin, Govin came close to scoring the equaliser as his cross grazed the crossbar for a corner. At the other end, Pune FC had a golden chance for their third. Moga, on a clean through pass, got into the box on a counter and tried to walk the ball in but failed after the rival defence moved in time to clear the danger.
Both sides were creating chances aplenty, only for wayward finishing to let them down. Paite’s cross was too high for Moga and Sushil’s attempt was once again blocked by Mondal.
A minute from the final whistle, SLFC 'keeper Ralte was shown a red card by the referee. The custodian brought down Moga on a counter. The fouled PFC striker however failed to make the opportunity count as his spot-kick was saved by substitute 'keeper Basant Singh. Although he had some hope off the rebound, Moga's second attempt came off the post.
How do you stay up with football when on the move? With http://m.goal.com –your best source for mobile coverage of the beautiful game.