Pune FC sealed a comfortable 3-0 win over Delhi-based Hindustan FC in their seventh round encounter in the final phase of the U-19 I-League at the DSK Football Field in Loni on Tuesday.
Goals from striker Arif Shaikh (17th minute), skipper Altamash Sayed (48th) and medio Md. Yasir handed Pune FC their fourth win in a row.
The win was also Pune FC’s fifth in the final phase as they took their tally to 16 points, level with leaders AIFF Elite Academy, who still have a game in hand, but behind on goal difference.
Going into their final game of the campaign, Coach Naushad Moosa made one change to the starting lineup with Dimple Bhagat coming back from a suspension replacing the suspended Sannik Murmu.
After a slow start to the game, Pune FC finally settled in and created the first chance in the 7th minute when Myron Mendes’ header on Dimple’s corner in from the left went inches wide at the far post.
Ten minutes later, Pune FC finally took the lead on a breakaway move. Playmaker Md. Ashique controlled a clearance in the midfield and sent Arif through on the left flank. The striker controlled and sprinted toward the box before firing a low ball under the keeper for his second goal in as many games.
Thereafter, Pune FC dominated majority of the proceedings but fell short in the final third. Dimple, Myron, Ashique, Sanchayan Samadder all had chances but couldn’t make it count as Pune FC went into the breather with a 1-0 lead.
Pune FC came out attacking right from the word go in the second half and doubled their advantage in just three minutes. A quick combination play between Chesterpaul Lyngdoh and Ashique saw the ball come to Altamash on the left who curled in at the far post beating an outstretched goalkeeper in the 48th minute.
Minutes later, Altamash had a chance to increase the tally but his effort on a freekick just outside the box on the left went into the side-netting.
Pune FC continued to completely dominate proceedings thereafter restricting Hindustan FC to a few counter attacks.
After some constant pressure, Pune FC finally increased their lead in the 78th minute. On a breakaway move, Sanchayan found Pradeesh down the right who cut back for Yasir just outside the box. The youngster curled home a neat attempt over the rival keeper to seal the game for Pune FC.