Pune FC Reserves won the clubs’ first winner’s trophy this season lifting the All India Gold Cup (played in memory of Late Prakash Sonkar) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Indore, on Sunday. In the final, Pune FC Reserves got the better of Hindustan FC, New Delhi 1-0 and remain unbeaten in the entire tournament. Midfielder Vellington Rocha netted the all-important goal in the 55th minute.
This was the first-time that Pune FC had ever played a tournament in Indore.
Seeded into the quarterfinals, Pune FC Reserves comprised of six senior players along with Under-19 players of the Peninsula Pune Football Club (PPFCA) and had beaten Travancore Titanium FC 4-3 via the tie-breaker before overcoming Indian Navy, Mumbai 6-5 after playing out a 1-1 draw in regulation time during the week.
On Sunday in the final, Pune FC Reserves, who were playing their third match on consecutive days, began by settling into good rhythym. The team marginally held the edge with Shanmugam Venkatesh controlling the midfield.
Pune FC’s first inroad came way past 10 minutes. Vellington Rocha’s cross, cleared by the opponents defender, had Venkatesh pick up the loose ball and attempt which ended blocked by a defender.
As the game progressed, David L from outside the box tried to go over the horizontal after Rocha worked in a cross. The try was the first by either team goalward.
Sukhwinder Singh joined in with a long-ranger that went wide minutes later. Nearing the half-way stage, Rocha did well to set up David who had a stiff try into the ‘keeper’s hands. At the other end, Hindustan FC attacked from the right wing only to have Pune FC ‘keeper Avilash Paul collect and ward off the threat. At half time, the score remained goalless.
Ten minutes after the resumption, David and Rocha, combined well to give Pune FC Reserves the lead. David’s cross from the left had Rocha brilliantly direct his half-volley at the second post leaving the custodian a spectator.
Down by a goal, Hindustan FC saw Pune FC goalkeeper Avilash Paul save an attempt from 8-yards out following a corner-kick. Over the next 10 minutes, Pune FC dominated the midfield, before striker Deepak Kumar made way for Rinte and subsequently striker Deepak Kumar was replaced by Rinte.
However it was Pune FC who emerged victorious and went home richer by Rs 80,000, while Vellington Rocha was adjudged Player of the Tournament.
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