ISL 2017: FC Pune City 1-3 Bengaluru FC: Miku brace fires visitors to the top of the league as Baljit Sahni sees red
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Pune City were reduced to 10 men for the second game in a row as Bengaluru FC ran out victors.....

Bengaluru FC came back from a goal behind to inflict a 2-1 defeat on FC Pune City at the Balewadi Sports Complex as Miku's brace (64' and 78') overturned Adil Khan's 35th minute strike.

Both coaches deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation with Miku leading the line for Benglaluru FC and Emaliano Alfaro deployed up top for FC Pune City.

In a big omission, Ranko Popovic chose to start star player Marcelinho on the bench as Jonatan Lucca was deployed in his place behind Alfaro. Albert Roca meanwhile left Edu Garcia on the bench while Ralte Lalthuammawia continued between the sticks as Gurpreet Singh served the second of his two-match suspension.

The first-half was a cagey affair with chances coming at a premium for both sides. The play was generally restricted to a midfield battle as both teams closed down the other efficiently.

Bengaluru skipper Sunil Chhetri expertly rounded Pune custodian Vishal Kaith after a long ball set him free behind the defence but the forward was adjudged to have used his hands in the process and was shown a yellow card.

The visitors’ defence looked shaky at times and a silly error gave Pune the opportunity to cause some damage but Ralte was alert and came charging out to deny Alfaro.

The home side took the lead 10 minutes before half-time through an unlikely source as midfielder Adil Khan ghosted in unmarked in the Bengaluru box and head home a delicious corner from left-winger Isaac Vanmalsawma.

Popovic’s men went into the interval with a 1-0 lead but it all changed for the worse at the start of the second period after Baljit Sahni was shown a second yellow-card as Pune were reduced to 10 men for the second game running.

Roca sensed the opportunity to take advantage and threw in Toni and Edu Garcia as defender Juanan and midfielder Erik Paartalu were brought off in a gung-ho move.

The move paid dividends immediately as Pune’s defence came under increasing pressure.

That pressure told in the 64th minute and it was Garcia who provided the assist with a neat cut back from the left byline which allowed Miku to tap-in from close range.

The Pune defence held on admirably under the intense onslaught for a brief period as Bengaluru’s forwards were frustrated but were ultimately made to pay in the 79th minute as Miku grabbed his second of the night.

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The forward had the presence of mind to latch on to the rebound after Garcia’s shot was blocked down by Pune’s defence and he let fly a left-footed effort into the back of the net.

With a man less, the home side found it tough to create any opportunities in attack in the dying minutes and were dealt the killer blow in the final minute of added time as Chhetri found the back of the net after a neat one-two with Toni to take his league tally to two goals.

The win enabled the visitors to climb to the top of the Indian Super League (ISL) standings.

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