Pune earn bragging rights in ‘Maha’ derby
FC Pune City got the better of local rivals Mumbai City FC courtesy of a 2 – 0 score-line in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday. Diego Carlos and Marcelinho struck in each half as Mumbai’s poor run at home continued with their fourth home loss on the trot.
It was free-flowing football from both ends and Marcelinho fashioned a half-chance in the third minute when he took down Sahil Panwar’s overhead ball, but his eventual shot hit the side-netting. Seven minutes later Carlos cut in from the left and let fly, but custodian Amrinder Singh’s fingertips helped the ball onto the side-netting again.
Marcelinho then missed a glorious chance when Adil Khan’s chipped pass put him through on goal, but the Brazilian’s effort with his left foot missed the target by a whisker. The Stallions, however, got the lead in the 18th minute. Sarthak Golui put in a cross from the right and the ball took a touch off Carlos’ head before defender Raju Gaikwad ended up putting the ball into his own net with his thigh.
The Islanders tried to respond seven minutes later when Achille Emana outfoxed two defenders and floated a ball into the box. Everton Santos though skied it high and off the mark. A couple of minutes after the hour mark, Sanju Pradhan struck a sweet volley from a long way out, but Pune goalkeeper Vishal Kaith was up to his task as he got down to make a smart save. It proved to be the last chance of reckoning as Pune went into the break with a one-goal advantage.
Two minutes after the restart, Balwant got on the end of a cross whipped in by Emana, but the 31-year-old’s header went over the crossbar. The 70th minute then saw Balwant latch onto a ball on the edge of the box, and while his shot deflected off the Pune defence, Kaith still managed to make a reflex save.
The Islanders should have found the leveller a couple of minutes later. Emana fired in a cross from the right, and Balwant took a touch before hitting his shot. Kaith got down to make the save, but the rebound fell straight for Thiago. However, with the entire goal at his mercy, he somehow missed the target.
And they were left to rue those missed opportunities as seven minutes from time, the Stallions sealed the deal. Jonatan Lucca played the ball to Marcelinho on the right and last season’s golden boot winner took a touch before calmly slotting the ball past Amrinder. That was the final nail in the coffin for Mumbai as Pune consolidated second spot in the table and moved closer to playoff qualification.
Club Award: FC Pune City
Swift Moment of the Match: Sahil Tavora
DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Sarthak Golui
Amul Fittest Player: Diego Carlos
Emerging Player: Sahil Panwar
Hero of the Match: Marcos Tebar
Watch the match highlights here: