Pune FC remained the only unbeaten team in the I-League 2013-14 registering a 1-0 win over newly-promoted Rangdajied United FC in a Round-7 encounter at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mhalunge-Balewadi in Pune on Sunday.
Defender Calum Angus’ (30th minute) calm finish at the half-hour mark handed Pune FC a third consecutive win at home.
With this win, Pune FC go joint top of the table with 13 points from five games. The hosts are equal on points with Salgaocar FC and Bengaluru FC and are second behind the Goans on goal difference having played a game less.
After soaking pressure in the early exchanges, Pune FC created the first close chance of the game in the 18th minute. Playmaker Douhou Pierre’s cross in from the right fell for Othallo Tabia on the left inside the box only for the defender to shoot into the side-netting with acres of space.
The hosts finally took the lead at the half hour mark through Calum. After earning a corner on the right, winger Nikhil Kadam played it quickly to Douhou. The Ivorian then laid off for Calum outside the box in the center and his powerful low drive beat Rangdajied ‘keeper Shambhu Mistry for his second goal in as many matches.
Six minutes later, the hosts survived a close moment. Striker Edmar Fugueira missed a sitter as he kicked Thomas Saikhom’s freekick from the right over the bar from three-yards out.
The hosts went close once again in the closing minutes of the first half. Douhou chipped in a ball for Arata Izumi on the right and the India-international sent in a low ball into the box for striker Thongkhosiem Haokip who failed to connect in front of the goal.
At the other end, Edmar set on a counter and held off a couple of defenders, but only found the side-netting with a shot from inside the box on the left.
The hosts took their one goal advantage into the break.
The second half was more of the same as Pune FC kept on pressing the Rangdajied defense restricting the visitors to occasional counter attacks.
Seven minutes after restart, Douhou chipped in again for Arata on the run only to be denied by the keeper who rushed out to make a block.
The game had turned physical and both sides were feeling the effects of it.
After a long midfield battle, the visitors went close into the final ten minutes. Edmar held off defender Gurjinder Kumar on the right before sending in a pin-point cross for substitute Sandesh Gadkari – on for Lalnunpuia – inside the box. Pune FC custodian Amrinder Singh sensed the danger and punched out the ball just in time.
The hosts held on to their lead in the final minutes to seal their fourth win of the season.