Pune seal vital win after 7-goal thriller with Delhi

Khel NowKhel Now
November 18 2016

The Stallions have put themselves right back in the mix for the playoffs after the dramatic win over the league leaders…

FC Pune City beat Delhi Dynamos FC 4-3 during their 2016 Hero Indian Super League encounter in front of almost 9,000 fans at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Balewadi on Friday. Pune’ Mohamed Sissoko missed a penalty before Kean Lewis scored to give the Lions a first-half lead. A brace from Anibal Rodriguez and Sissoko made it 3-1 for the hosts before an Eduardo Ferreira own-goal made it 3-2. Goals from substitutes Lenny Rodrigues and Malsawmzuala in stoppage time saw the match end 4-3 in favour of the hosts as leaders Delhi succumbed to their second defeat of Hero Indian Super League 2016.

The hosts had a great chance of taking the lead early on after Sissoko threaded in a delightful pass to Ferreira inside three minutes. Ferreira found himself in a one-on-one situation with Soram Poirei but his shot was straight at the Delhi custodian, who was glad to concede a corner.

Delhi’s first opportunity came in the 14th minute courtesy of a smart through-ball by Souvik Chakraborty that put Florent Malouda in behind Pune’s defence. The Frenchman managed to get his shot away but Edel Bete was quick off his line to make the save for the hosts.

Malouda had another chance five minutes later when he attempted a shot from outside the penalty area. This time Delhi’s marquee player failed to test Bete in goal as Pune countered from the very next attack through Momar Ndoye, who forced Poirei into a save at his near post after outpacing Delhi’s defence.

The Stallions should have been in front in the 25th minutes after Kim Kima conceded a penalty for a foul on Rodriguez. Sissoko stepped up to the spot and sent his effort low to Poirei’s left but the Dynamos shot-stopper got a strong hand to the ball and made the save to keep it at 0-0.

The penultimate chance of the opening period for Delhi saw Marcelinho in on goal with just the keeper to beat after a pass from deep inside their own half. However, the Lions’ top-scorer this season scuffed his shot, allowing Pune’s defence to clear the danger.

Delhi took the lead from their next attack with Memo squaring brilliantly for Lewis, who made no mistake with a controlled left-foot finish to make it 1-0 a minute from half-time. Ndoye could have equalised for the Stallions in stoppage time at the end of the first half but Poirei again came to his side’s rescue as Pune went into the break a goal down.

Pune levelled 10 minutes into the second half after Rodriguez won a free-kick on the right flank for the Stallions. Jonatan Lucca put in an inch-perfect ball from the set-piece, which Rodriguez headed into the back of the net to make it 1-1.

Antonio Habas’ men went in front in the 62nd minute thanks to another set-piece from Lucca. The Brazilian’s free-kick somehow made its way to Sissoko, who found himself unmarked inside the six-yard box. The Malian made no mistake this time around and redeemed his earlier penalty miss by slamming the ball into the net.

Rodriguez scored his second goal of the night two minutes later by capitalising on Ruben Rocha’s poor control from a Poirei pass and firing into the bottom corner from range to give his side a two-goal cushion.

Delhi tried to mount a comeback with Marcelinho going inches wide of reducing the deficit in the 68th minute. Substitute Bruno Pelissari and Malouda also went close to scoring but Bete was equal to the task to deny the Lions.

The visitors did pull one back 11 minutes from full-time after Ferreira’s attempted clearance off a David Addy cross from the left hit the back of the net for the first own goal of the season. It set up a dramatic climax to the match with the game resting on a knife-edge with score at 3-2.

Pune made it 4-2 in injury-time with Lenny side-footing a Lucca pass to send the home fans into raptures. Delhi though weren’t giving in that easy and responded soon after with substitute Malsawmzuala scoring his first goal of the season to make it 4-3. That proved to be the last goal of the match as Pune brought themselves back in semis contention.