Goals from Victorino Fernandes and Pratesh Shirodkar allowed the Goan side to end Pune FC's unbeaten run and record a creditable win...
Oscar Bruzon handed Victorino Fernandes a start with Karpeh suspended for two games, while Joyner Lourenco made his return from an injury.
Meanwhile, Mike Snoei gave Mustapha Riga his I-League debut. The Ghanian was brought in as a replacement for Raul Fabiani who was released following an injury which would have kept him out for four months. Influential Australian midfielder James Meyer missed out due to an ankle injury and it was upto Douhou Pierre and Izumi Arata to helm the central midfield.
The afternoon heat had a role to play in the slow start made by both the teams and it was only in the 11th minute that the Red Lizards' goalkeeper Amrinder Singh was called into action as he palmed away a header by Ogba Kalu from a Pratesh Shirodkar delivery.
Just a minute later, Cajetan Fernandes released Arturo Garcia down the right flank who picked out Victorino with a lovely cross but his header was off target.
It was an early blow for Pune FC as defender Calum Angus had to go out with a niggle. Angus, besides being a rock at the back, had also come up with important goals when needed.
It was the home side who continued to dominate against a Pune FC side who were still undefeated in the I-League this season and Arturo got in the act yet again when his header was parried away after a Rojen Singh free kick. Ogba Kalu failed to convert from the rebound.
Victorino blasted wide from inside the box after being played in by Shirodkar in the 42nd minute and just before the half-time, Sporting got close to breaking the deadlock when Arturo connected a left-footer on the volley off Cajetan's cross from the left, but the ball came off the post.
The visitors had failed to register a single shot on target in the first half and it would be upto Snoei to motivate them for the second half while Sporting had only themselves to blame after failing to bury a clutch of chances.
It was status quo after the interval too, as it took the home side only ten minutes to get that much deserved goal. Shirodkar relayed it first to Rowllin Borges who found Arturo out wide. The Spaniard's low cross across the goal mouth was slotted in comfortably by Victorino. Pune FC could not complain as this was certainly coming.
Just four minutes later Victornio could have doubled his tally as he almost got at the end of a Shirodkar cross as the Goan midfielder was running riot on the flanks. It was Amrinder who came to the rescue again as Victorino had another chance in the 68th minute.
It however ended badly for the young Pune custodian as he was sent off for a second yellow in the 81st minute for bringing down Velito Cruz just outside the box and it was down to skipper Anas Edathodika to play as the goalkeeper as Snoei had already exhausted his substitutions.
In added time, Pune FC almost sealed a draw as former Bolton Wanderers frontman, Mustapha Riga should have scored from Arata's delivery but Mathew Gonsalves was on the spot to put in a crucial tackle. Three points were sealed for Bruzon's side four minutes into injury time as Shirodkar slammed it past Anas in goal after Borges had played him through.
The win took Sporting Clube de Goa to the third spot after an excellent run of results while Pune FC need to introspect after a listless display.
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