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Pune FC go down 2-5 to Tampines Rovers in AFC Cup match

AFC Cup: Pune FC v Tampines Rovers FC

AFC Cup: Pune FC v Tampines Rovers FC

Missed chances throughout the match hit Pune FC hard as they went down 2-5 to Tampines Rovers FC in an AFC Cup Round 4 encounter at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Tuesday.

Striker Miljan Mrdakovic (5th minute) put Tampines ahead before two quick goals from attacker Riga Mustapha (12th) and winger Anthony D’Souza (14th) put Pune FC ahead.

Winger Jamil Ali (44th) scored right at the death in the first half to restore parity going into the breather.

Thereafter, second half strikes from striker Aleksandar Duric (57th & 69th) and defender Mustafic Fahrudin (60th Pen) handed Tampines a comfortable win.

With their second consecutive loss against the Singapore side, Pune FC blew the chance of moving up in the standings and stay fourth in Group-H behind Kitchee SC (10 pts), Tampines Rovers (6 pts) and Nay Pyi Taw FC (4 pts).

Coach Mike Snoei made three changes to the starting lineup bringing in goalkeeper Amrinder Singh, winger Anthony and defender Anas Edathodika in place of Arup Debnath, Zohmingliana Ralte and Srikanth Ramu.

Pune FC had a worst start to the game when striker Mrdakovic put the visitors ahead in the fifth minute. The striker headed home winger Jamil’s cross in from the right after getting into free space on the edge of the box after the defense line had moved up.

However, Pune FC bounced back immediately scoring twice inside two minutes around the quarter hour mark. First, Riga controlled skipper Douhou Pierre’s perfect through pass down the middle before rounding off the keeper and scoring from inside the box.

Couple minutes later, Anthony scored his second goal in as many games to put Pune FC ahead. The winger combined with Riga on the left flank before going a solo past three defenders. Anthony then created space inside the box and drilled a right-footer into the roof of the net to send the home fans into frenzy.

Pune FC dominated proceedings thereafter but missed a host of simple chances to increase their lead.

The visitors hit back at the other end equalising a minute from the break. An unmarked winger Jamil scored from inside the box after controlling Mustafic’s long freekick from the halfline as both sides went into the break tied at 2-2.

In the second half, Pune FC attacked from the word go and went close through striker Mirjan Pavlovic on a couple of occasions.

However Tampines took the lead at the other end. Medio Closa Gonzalez made his way into the box on the left near the goalline and squared the ball to Duric who tapped into an empty net.

Three minutes later, the visitors increased their lead with skipper Mustafic converting from the penalty spot after defender Zohmingliana Ralte – on for the injured Anas Edathodika – handled the ball inside the box.

Seven minutes later, Duric completed his brace controlling Jamil’s through ball down the middle before finishing past helpless Amrinder.

Pune FC thereafter created a host of chances but once again were let down by poor finishing. Pavlovic was denied twice by the woodwork, while Anthony, Gurjinder Kumar and Thongkhosiem Haokip all went close.