Pune FC suffered a heart-breaking 0-1 loss to Bharat FC in the second Pune Derby of the season at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi on Sunday.
In a hard fought I-League Round 11 encounter, substitute Kris Bright converted a penalty kick in the 90th minute to hand Pune FC their third consecutive loss in the campaign.
The result also meant Pune FC stayed in the fifth place with 23 points while the hosts Bharat FC moved up to sixth with 18 points.
Going into the game, Pune FC Assistant Coach Gift Raikhan made one change to the starting line up with medio Mumtaz Akhtar replacing Dhanpal Ganesh.
After a slow start, Pune FC created the first chance of the game at the quarter hour mark. Edgar Marcelino with some great footwork beat Romauld Boco in the midfield before setting up Darko Nikac inside the box but the striker couldn’t take a clean shot.
Pune FC continued to push up thereafter and had half chances through Arata Izumi, Ryuji Sueoka and Edgar but couldn’t make them count.
Meanwhile, hosts Bharat FC had a couple of chances as moved ahead on few occasions but the Pune FC defense held firm to thwart all of them.
Towards the end of the first half, Darko had a couple of close chances. First Edgar set up the Montenegrin striker inside the box but just as he tried to close in defender Gouramangi Singh blocked the attempt. Minutes later, Darko once again go clear just outside the box but his powerful attempt was blocked by Boco as the first half ended goalless.
The second half began in similar fashion with both sides battling out hard in the midfield. Although, Pune FC saw more of the ball they were falling short in the final third.
Six minutes after restart, it was Pune FC who went close first. Darko got clear on the right flank beating a couple of defenders but his dangerous chipped cross from inside the box was deflected and cleared.
Pune FC continued to push ahead and the attacking trio of Sueoka, Darko and substitute Nikhil Kadam – on for Edgar – kept the Bharat FC defense busy.
Six minutes past the hour mark, Pune FC had a good chance. After some quick interplay between Nikhil and Darko outside the rival box, the ball fell for Arata Izumi. The skipper however, blasted his effort over.
At the other end, Bharat FC went close when Dipendu Dowary got into the clear inside the box. However, the midfielder was denied by Pune FC ‘keeper Amrinder Singh who came up with a good save.
Into the final ten minutes, Pune FC were handed a blow when substitute Prakash Thorat, on for Arata, was stretchered off the field after suffering an injury that looked serious.
As the game looked set to end goalless, the referee awarded Bharat FC a penalty after a handball inside the Pune FC box by defender Luciano Sabrosa in the 89th minute. Substitute Kris Bright stepped up and beat Amrinder with a powerful shot to give the hosts a one goal lead in the final minute of normal time.
Pune FC tried pushing up in the final minutes of the game, but the Bharat FC defense held on for a narrow win.