Bharat FC come out as winners in the closely contested Pune Derby
May 10, Pune:
New boys Bharat FC succeeded in outplaying the Red Lizards in the reverse fixture of the Pune derby courtesy of a last minute penalty which was slotted home by substitute Kris Bright. The 1-0 win earned the boys in blue bragging rights over their city rivals.
Bharat FC buoyed by their recent win against table toppers Mohun Bagan decided to field an unchanged line-up. The “visitors” started hoping to put behind back to back defeats. For them, Mumtaz Akhtar came in for midfielder Dhanpal Ganesh.
Not wanting to lose, both teams started rather cautiously. The possession was mainly dominated by the midfielders with neither of the teams able to trouble the keepers. Bobby Hassell was leading the charge for the hosts with a couple of magical passes, both of which were squandered inside the box. Marcelino, on the other hand, continued to mesmerise the crowd with his skills – a couple of Rabona chips but not to any significant effect.
The first meeting which ended in a pulsating 1-1 draw saw a lot of drama and physicality. The reverse fixture was no different. The boys in blue continued to batter their opponents and Luciano Sabrosa was booked early on after recklessly blocking a charging Subash Singh. The latter lay on ground for a few minutes before being brought back on after some treatment. Steven Dias was not so lucky after he looked to have pulled his hamstring after coming together with a Pune FC player and had to be taken off at half time.
The first chance came in the 68th minute for the Lions when a loose ball fell to substitute Dipendu Dowry. He took a moment to assess his options before trying to put in a low curling shot which was well warded off by Amrinder Singh. The Lions came close again minutes later from a set-piece. A well-taken corner found an unmarked Gouramangi Singh, but his looping header flew just wide giving the Red Lizards a moment to re-group.
The tie took an unexpected turn with just two minutes to go. Marquee signing Boco wriggled his way past the Pune FC defense. He found some space for himself before lashing one goalwards, but the ball hit Luciano Sobrosa’s stretched hands inside the box. The referee had no choice but to point to the spot. Kris Bright kept his composure and slotted an inch perfect penalty in the left corner throwing the Lions’ supporters into a frenzy.
The Lions who once looked like contenders for the bottom position were propelled to the 6th position after back to back wins against leaders Mohun Bagan and city-rivals Pune FC. Pune FC now sit just one position above the Lions on number 5 with 23 points after 17 games.