Pune FC came from two goals down to beat DSK Shivajians 4-2 in a thrilling U-19 I-League encounter at the DSK Football Field in Loni on Monday.
Having gone down 0-2 in the opening half an hour, Pune FC showed great composure to fight back and begin the U-19 I-League Final Phase with a win.
In an action packed encounter, hosts DSK Shivajians took a two goal lead through Patrick Mascarenhas (26th minute, Penalty) and Lalhriatpuia (27th) before medio Md. Ashique Kuruniyan (38th) and Sanchayan Samadder (45th) pulled Pune FC level in the first half.
Therafter, goals from winger Dimple Bhagat (63rd) and striker Arif Shaikh (73rd) in the second half sealed Pune FC’s brilliant comeback win.
Hosts DSK Shivajians played the final thirty minutes with ten men after Kamlesh Nadar was sent off in the 56th minute.
After some half chances at either end in the opening quarter, hosts DSK Shivajians took the lead in the 26th minute. Stiker Patrick converted a penalty kick after Dimple had committed a foul inside the Pune FC box.
A minute later, a howler from Pune FC custodian Sukhadev Patil allowed Shivajians to double their lead. The Pune FC custodian came outside the box trying to clear a long ball. His miskick however, fell for Lalhriatpuia who chipped the ball home from range.
Despite going two goals down, Pune FC kept pushing ahead and were finally rewarded when medio Ashique pulled one back in the 38th minute. The creative midfielder slotted home from close range capitalising on the Shivajians backline’s failure to clear the ball on a corner kick.
Having scored a goal, Pune FC got their confidence back and began pushing up. Attempts from midfielder Sannik Murmu and striker Arif went close as the two-time former champions began to assert their dominance.
The pressure paid off as Pune FC scored an identical goal to the one they conceded. After Arif charged on keeper Shubham Dhas, he panicked in cleared the ball which fell for Sanchayan about twelve yards outside the box. The midfielder controlled and curled his shot straight into the empty net to level scores going into the breather.
The second half was a totally different story as Pune FC dominated proceedings right from the start forcing the hosts into making mistakes.
One such foul from Shivajians’ Kamlesh Nadar on Ashique earned him a second booking which resulted in a sending off in the 56th minute.
With a man-advantage, Pune FC began pushing further up and completed the comeback in the 63rd minute. Having earned a freekick on the right flank, Dimple curled in the attempt at the near post. A fumble from keeper Shubham saw the ball end up in the net as Pune FC went up 3-2.
Ten minutes later, Pune FC increased their lead after a well worked move. Winger Chesterpaul Lyngdoh played a nice long ball upfront to Arif inside the box. The striker controlled, beat the keeper and slotted home from close range to score the fourth goal.
Pune FC continued to create chances in the final quarter but were denied on multiple occasions before finally sealing a well-deserved 4-2 win.