At the Balewadi Sports Complex Shillong Lajong Football Club celebrated their return to the I-League holding hosts Pune FC to a goalless draw in Pune. Both sides had decent chances, but failed to convert them and they had to be content with a point apiece.
Being the first match of the 2011-12 season, there was a buzz of anticipation around the Balewadi Stadium, where both teams hoped to put up a spectacular show.
As expected, Shahinlal Meloly started in goal for Pune FC for Subrata Paul, who will be out for a considerable amount of time. In his absence, midfielder Shanmugam Venkatesh wore the Captain’s armband.
Pune FC’s Baldeep Singh received the first caution of the game for rough play in the 20th minute.
The rest of the half saw both the teams having decent amount of possession, but nothing to show for it. The game was played mainly in midfield with both teams content with long-range attempts.
On changing ends, Lajong put some serious pressure on the home team’s defence but the Pune FC defenders did well to keep the trio of James Gbilee, John Menyongar and Christopher at bay. Defender Chika Wali with Gurjinder did well in manning the rivals.
The home team had their chances too, with skipper Venkatesh acting as a catalyst. He was the chief source of all the chances Pune FC created. Striker Douhou Pierre had two decent chances for the Pune team, but he scuffed his attempts on both occasions.
For Pune FC, stand-out performer was undoubtedly their goal-keeper Meloly, whose numerous valiant saves not only prevented the hosts from going down, but also earned him the Man-of-the-Match honour.
FULL MATCH STATS AVAILABLE AT
(AIFF Press Release)
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