Md. Ashique Kurunian played an important role in the Stallions win.
Dempo had a poor start to the tournament as they had lost their first encounter 2-0 against FC Bardez Goa, while Pune were here with a trimuph in the U-19 IFA Shield.
Dempo coach Anthony De Souza made two changes to his side as Desmond Fernandes and Rajat Harijan found their names in the starting XI. While, Pune coach Anshul Katiyar made few changes to his side which won the IFA Shield final against Mohun Bagan U-19 as keeper Bilal Khan, Pawan Kumar and Rahul Yadav were the three new faces in the playing XI.
The first 15 minutes witnessed an end-to-end football from both the sides, However, Pune were more potent in creating chances. In one of these, Rahul shot wide from inside the box after a one-two with Gani Ahammed Nigam.
Three minutes later, Md. Ashique Kurunian sent a cross in the box. Confusion between defender Nikhil Guran and keeper Gawin Pinto saw Pune’s Baunthanglun Samte taking advantage but his header sailed over the crossbar from point blank range. However, they took the lead in the very next minute when SK Sajid Hossain connected a powerful volley off Sebastian Thangmuansang’s low cross, which finished in the back of the nylons.
The Stallions had another chance to double their lead when Ashique and Baunthanglun were once again in the action in a similar style but like last time, the winger failed to control his header from close as the ball went out for a goal-kick.
A few minutes later, Pune City doubled their lead through Baunthanglun. After missing two sitters, the winger finally scored in the 35th minute when his lofted cross from the right flank directly finished in the goal outreaching Dempo keeper Gawin’s hands.
Pune further inflated their lead in added time of the first half. In a counter-attack, Ashique set up a perfect ball to Nigam, the forward made an excellent run from the halfway line and calmly finished the ball at the far post making it 3-0 for the Pune at the halftime.
On crossing over, Pune wasted three more opportunities to further increase their lead. First, Rahul failed to control his volley from outside the box, off Sebastian’s cross. Later, Sebastian once again set up an excellent ball in the box with a fine cross but this time Dempo keeper Gawin made a superb save to stop Ashique’s header. A few minutes later, Ashique tried his luck from distance but his powerful strike was pushed away for a corner.
The best chance for Dempo came in the 63 minuteswhen they were awarded a free-kick just outside the box, but Aaron Alvares’ shot missed the target by few inches.
At the other end, substitute Omega Vanlalhruaitluanga made it 4-0 with his first touch after coming on for Sajid. The winger made no mistake to shoot past keeper Gawin after receiving an aerial pass from another substitute Sachin Karnan.
The Stallions had another chance to increase their lead when they were awarded a free-kick at the edge of the box but thed Dempo keeper made a diving effort to deny Baunthanglun shot.
With just a goal added in the second half by the visitors, Dempo managed to stop the Stallions from scoring more as the match ended with just four goals.
Pune coach Katiyar was happy with the result and said, “I was not expecting a big margin of victory today but what I was expecting was good football from my boys and they played really well today.”