Mohun Bagan beat Pune FC 3-0 in IFA opener
Striker C.S. Sabeeth’s brace (fourth and 53rd minute) along with skipper Odafa Okolie‘s (30th) goal from a free-kick were enough to give Mohun Bagan the win. The loss to Mohun Bagan was Pune FC’s second in the IFA Shield and third in five matches played here.
In a game of a physical nature, Pune FC went close couple of times in the opening minutes. Midfielder Velington Rocha’s attempt from the edge of the box went over after Douhou Pierre slid back the ball from the left. A minute later, striker James Moga’s overhead kick went just wide after he did well to connect the ball.
At the other end, some sloppy defending cost Pune FC as Mohun Bagan took the lead. Medio Quinton Jacobs’ cross in from the left was headed into the box by Odafa to Sabeeth on the run, who controlled it with his chest and volleyed home.
Thereafter the game became more physical and was evident by the increasing number of fouls by both sides. At the quarter hour mark, Douhou’s freekick from the left was cleared by the Mohun Bagan defence.
Midway through the half, Pune FC went close from another freekick. Douhou’s crisp kick, once again from the left, was missed by all players rushing into the box only for an alert ‘keeper Shilton Paul to clear off the goalline.
At the half hour mark, another moment of madness cost Pune FC. As Odafa set on a counter, three Pune FC defenders tried to stop him giving away a cheap foul. The Nigerian scored directly from the freekick to double Mohun Bagan’s lead.
Two minutes later, Moga was brought down by Anyiche after he tried to connect Khanthang Paite’s low cross into the box. Substitute Subash Singh, on for Shanmugam Venkatesh, too was denied after his attempt was blocked.
Pune FC went into the break trailing 0-2.
The second half began with Pune FC taking charge, however, finishing in the final third let them down. But it was Mohun Bagan who scored again after more poor defending by Pune.
Medio Jacobs was allowed to run into the box in the right as he slid the ball past defenders Anas Edathodika and Caitano Costa. Sabeeth tapped in into the empty net after ‘keeper Shahinlal Meloly too was out of position.
At the other end, Subash’s powerful drive from the left was blocked by the keeper and the rebound was too quick for Rocha to handle. Pune FC then had striker Moga go close twice in a space of five minutes. Minutes past the hour mark, Moga’s free-kick from 30-yards was saved by keeper Shilton. He once again produced a diving save on Moga’s second free-kick from the edge of the box to deny Pune FC a goal.
All in all for Pune FC it was an off colour performance wherein poor finishing and defending did them in.