Nay Pyi Taw FC 3 (Zaw Aung 42, Tayzar Win 62, Htoo 72)
Pune FC 3 (Haokip 36, Arata 55, Angus 80)
Nay Pyi Taw FC: Van Lar Hrual; Chan Chan, Ye Lin Naing, Latt Ko Ko Aye, Obadin Aikhena, Nay Zaw Aung; Zaw Lin (Khaing Htoo 35), Aung Kyaw Naing, Nyein Tayzar Win (Thant Zaw Hein 68); Delgado Carlos Alberto; Michele Di Piedi
Pune FC: Arup Debnath; Zohmingliana Ralte (Srikanth Ramu 51), Calum Angus, Salam Ranjan Singh, Gurjinder Kumar; Gabriel Fernandes, Arata Izumi, Douhou Pierre, Anthony D’Souza (Nicolau Borges 46); Prakash Thorat, Mirjan Pavlovic (Thongkhosiem Haokip 13)
Pune FC have been eliminated from the 2014 AFC Cup following their 3-3 draw away at Myanmar’s Nay Pyi Taw FC in this matchday five clash on Tuesday afternoon.
The I-League outfit took the lead through Thongkhosiem Haokip in the first half but it was cancelled out by Nay Zaw Aung. Douhou Pierre wasted a penalty for Pune early in the second period but Arata Izumi soon put them back in front. However once again the hosts equalised quickly through Nyein Tayzar Win before substitute Khaing Htoo made it 3-2. Calum Angus restored parity for Pune but the away draw wasn’t enough to keep their knockout hopes alive.
With three points from five games Pune remain bottom of Group H and end their debut AFC Cup campaign with a home clash against Hong Kong’s Kitchee on April 22.
There was a surprise in the Pune eleven as Prakash Thorat started instead of the experienced Riga Mustapha. Nay Pyi Taw FC were once again without their South Korean midfielder Jung Yoon-Sik but Argentinian playmaker Delgado Carlos Alberto and Italian striker Michele Di Piedi both started.
It was an even contest in the early stages but Pune’s Australian striker Mirjan Pavlovic had to come off with an injury and was replaced by young Haokip.
The game’s first meaningful effort came almost out of nothing as Delgado’s curling effort was well saved by Pune custodian Arup Debnath. The hosts enjoyed a great spell of pressure midway through the first period with Zaw Lin also testing Debnath.
Pune’s first shot on target came from Gabriel Fernandes but it was straight at keeper Van Lar Hrual. With the match kicking off in the afternoon, both teams struggled to cope with the conditions and thus the referee allowed a mini drinks break after the half-hour mark.
The deadlock was finally broken by Haokip as he got on the end of a long diagonal ball after a mistake in the Nay Pyi Taw defence and slotted the ball past Hrual.
The visitors were in front despite not being at their best but the lead didn’t last for long as Zaw Aung equalised just six minutes after Haokip’s opener. The goal came after Arata lost possession with the home team quickly releasing Zaw Aung on the right and the wingback found the back of the net with a clinical finish.
Pune coach Mike Snoei introduced Nicolau Borges in place of Anthony D’Souza at the interval but Nay Pyi Taw’s Di Peidi looked dangerous early in the second half as he produced a couple of saves off Debnath.
The Indian club then earned a penalty when Gabriel Fernandes was brought down inside the box but Douhou Pierre’s spot-kick was saved by Hrual.
But Arata saved Douhou’s blushes as just three minutes after the penalty miss, the Japanese-born India international latched on a through pass from Gurjinder Kumar and scored past Hrual.
However, just like in the first half, the Myanmar club hit back quickly through Tayzar Win. The forward got in behind Pune’s substitute right back Srikanth Ramu after a diagonal pass and slotted the ball home.
Pune threatened a couple of times through Haokip but Nay Pyi Taw went in front for the first time in the game when substitute Htoo scored with a brilliant curling effort from just outside the box.
The away side threw everything at Nay Pyi Taw after that but eventually scored through a 30-yard long range strike from English defender Angus.
It was end-to-end action in the final ten minutes with both sides going for the winner. Pune custodian Debnath made a couple of vital saves while Thorat’s header from a Douhou freekick was tipped away by Hrual.
In stoppage time, Douhou went clean through on goal, rounded Hrual but somehow failed to hit the target as Pune’s knockout stage hopes came to an end.