Federation Cup: Ten Men Pune FC Register Narrow Win Over Dempo

Mandjou Keita And Jeje Lalpekhlua fire the Pune based outfit to all three points in their first group encounter against Goan side Dempo SC...
Pune FC earned their first three points in Group C when playing at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata they defeated Dempo SC 2-1, even though they were reduced to ten men after Lester Fernandes was sent off in the second half.

The Red Lizards took the lead in the seventh minute via a brilliantly taken goal by Mandjou Keita. They quickly added to their advantage when young Indian international Jeje Lalpekhlua headed in a cross from Othallo Tabia to make it 2-0.

Pune FC's Lester Fernandes was sent off but the Pune based team held on till the 90th minute when Peter Carvalho headed into an empty net.

It was though too little, too late as Derrick Pereira's men held on for an important victory in a group also involving East Bengal and Mohd. Sporting.

Dempo SC started in their usual 4-4-2 formation with Ranti Martins and Koko Sakibo playing front while Subhasish Roychowdhury between the sticks. Pune FC had Lester Fernandes and Baldeep Singh in the middle of the park with Shanmugham Venkatesh and Arata Izumi occupying the flanks.

It was Keita who gave Pune FC an early lead after Rowilson Rodrigues and Samir Naik failed to track him after a brilliant run by Othallo Tabia down the flank before cutting in on the penalty box to find the striker.

Just before the half hour mark, Lester laid the ball for Tabia whose cross saw Jeje Lalpekhlua put his head to good use, leaving the Dempo defence puzzled.

Eight minutes thereafter Lester’s booking led to the fourth official realize that he was sporting a wrong number jersey. With the main referee intimated by the fourth official play was stopped to sort the matter as Lester’s jersey number was listed to substitute player R Srikant.

The Goan side upped the pressure in the second half as they missed chances galore with Peter Carvalho and Ranti Martins being the guilty party.

Peter made amends however when scored in the 90th minute after Subrata Paul missed a cross from the right, which the midfielder headed home.

The victory has given Pune FC an edge in this 'group of death' as they next face East Bengal while Dempo SC shall come up against Mohammedan Sporting.

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