INDIAN FOOTBALL : I-LEAGUE 2014-15 REPORT

I-LEAGUE 2014-15 : Pune FC down Royal Wahingdoh 1-0 on a rainy evening; go top of the table .

Pune FC down Royal Wahingdoh 1-0 on a rainy evening; go top of the table ileague 2014-15 pic

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28.02.2015 : PUNE FC -- 1-0 -- ROYAL WAHINDOH ( FT..)
PFC : Haokip 27'
MOM : Haokip - PFC
PFC : Amrinder,Luciano, Mathew, Raju, Arata, Anas, Ganesh, Nikhil, Prakash, Haokip, Lalrempuia.
ROL : Nikhil, Lallawnzuala, Reagan, Lalchawnkima, Loveday, Lalmangaihsanga, Franco, Jackichand, Seityasen, Densil, Kim.

PFC Press Release : Pune FC down Royal Wahingdoh 1-0 on a rainy evening; go top of the table

Pune FC braved a rain soaked evening and clinched a narrow 1-0 win over Royal Wahingdoh FC in an I-League Round-8 encounter at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi on Saturday. A first half strike from Thongkhosiem Haokip (27th minute) proved to be the difference between the two sides in a hard fought encounter which went right down to the wire.

The win was also Pune FC's first in four games and helped them leapfrog Mohun Bagan AC (14 pts) into the summit of the standings with 15 points. Going into the game, Coach Karim Bencherifa made two changes to the lineup handing starts to Yumnam Raju and Prakash Thorat.

On a rain soaked night, the game began on a very attacking note. In as early as the second minute of the game, Haokip took off on a solo run, and ran into uncharted territories alone, before he was blocked out by the Wahingdoh defence. Two minutes later Wahingdoh earned a free kick just outside the box at the other end. The low curling kick in from Godwin Franko was blocked by Amrinder Singh.

Pune FC finally found their footing and dominated possession through delightful long balls as well quick short passes. In the 11th minute, Pune FC went close when Raju Yumnam sent in a delightful ball from the left, for Prakash Thorat but he was unable to capitalise on the ball and shoot it in.

Ten minutes later, Pune FC once again went close when a corner curled in by Lalrempuia Fanai found Luciano Sabrosa in the box. He headed the ball which reached Dhanpal Ganesh who ended up shooting it wide. Pune FC continued to push however with the elusive opening goal coming seven minutes later.

Pune FC finally broke the deadlock in the 27th minute through some great combination play. Arata Izumi who was running down the left flank released the ball in for Prakash. He in turn cut the ball in for Haokip who side stepped the shot deftly beating Wahingdoh's custodian Nikhil Bernard to score his sixth goal of the campaign making him the sole leader in the I-League top-scorerís chart.

Pune FC did not rest after the goal though. There were chances that kept coming over the next ten minutes as everyone including Arata, Prakash, Lalrempuia, Haokip and Nikhil Kadam kept combining to test the Wahingodh defence. A counter attack by Arata in the 37th minute found Prakash at the end of a low sliding pass. However he was intercepted off by the Wahingdoh custodian. In response in the 38th minute a single landed effort by Seityasen was blocked by Raju.

In the 45th minute of the game, Pune FC had one of the most clearest chances of the game when Haokip flicked a long ball to send Prakash clear but his shot was just deflected off by the Wahingdoh custodian in a one-on-one situation. At the end of the first half, Pune FC took their one goal lead into the breather.When the second half began, the pace of the game had reduces thanks to the rain pouring down continuously.

Wahingdoh clearly bitten by the early Pune FC goal came out in hoards. Barring the opening salvo in the 49th minute by Arata, Wahingdoh continued to press forward through Jackichand. Amrinder twice, in the opening ten minutes of the second half, stepped up to deny his brilliant efforts, one of which was at close range.

The game gradually moved into a classic tale of attacking and defensive footballing with Royal Wahingdoh doing most of the attacking and Pune FC retorting on the counter. Anthony D'Souza who came in place of Nikhil in the 60th minute was immediately in the thick of things when he went in close in the next minute and earned a corner.

A few minutes later another effort from Anthony earned him a free kick outside the box. Both efforts however yielded no results. In the 77th minute Anthony, Arata and Raju combined well on the left flank but the cross from Raju was very wide off the goal. Pune FC continued to keep pressure on the rivals and in the final ten minutes went close once again. Arata, toiling hard in the midfield, sent a pass for Anthony through the left who cut in but was intercepted by the keeper.

Wahingdoh kept pushing on the other end. In the 86th minute a powerful shot by Reagan Singh hit the crossbar, while another long ranger by Densill Theobald hit the crossbar. However, Pune FC kept their calm and defended well in the final minutes of the game to clinch a narrow 1-0 win.

FT: Pune FC win 1-0.
90': Still Pune is leading 1-0.
47': 2nd Half Starts.
27': GOALLLLLLLLLLLL Haokip scored for Pune. This is his 6th goal in the League.
25': 0-0 is the scoreline.
10': STILL NO SCORE IN THE MATCH.


PFC PRESS RELEASE : PREVIEW : Pune FC hosts Royal Wahingdoh in a top of the table clash

Pune FC will have a task cut out when they host north-east side Royal Wahingdoh FC in a top-of-the-table clash at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi on Saturday.

The I-League Round-8 encounter will be a crucial one for both sides who currently occupy the top two places in the league table and win will be vital before the league takes a short break for international fixtures.

Moreover, the clash will also be the first time second placed Pune FC (12 pts) and leaders Royal Wahingdoh (13 pts) face off in any competition and either side will be eager to get that first win.

Both sides go into the game on the back of contrasting results. While Royal Wahingdoh suffered a 1-2 loss to Mumbai FC at the Cooperage, Pune FC were held to a 1-1 draw by Sporting Clube de Goa at home.

However, having improved their performance vastly in the game against Sporting after the clashes against Mohun Bagan and Dempo SC in the previous encounters, Pune FC will be confident of their chances going into the game on Saturday.

"We had a good game against Sporting last week. Despite missing a few key players, we played as per plan and created a host of chances, something we lacked in the previous games," said Coach Bencherifa on the sidelines of a training session at the Pune FC training Pitches in Mamurdi. Nonetheless, the clash against leaders Royal Wahingdoh wonít be an easy one and Pune FC Head Coach Karim Bencherifa echoes the same sentiment.

"Royal Wahingdoh may be a newly promoted side, but they are not on the top of the standings for nothing. They boast some exciting talent in their side and play a good brand of attacking football and so we need to be at our best when we face them," added Coach Bencherifa.

Despite having scored just once in the last three games, Pune FC continue to be the top scorers in the league with 13 goals, four ahead of Wahingdoh who follow in the second place, and will be eager to improve the tally further.

On the other hand, the visitors have the second weakest defense in the league which has conceded nine goals, something the Pune FC front line led by Thongkhosiem Haokip and Ryuji Sueoka will be looking to exploit.

On the team news front, injures to overseas players Darko Nikac and Edgar Marcelino have seen them miss out the last two games. However, with the duo making considerable progress they might take the field on Saturday but a final decision will be made late.

Meanwhile, Santosh Kashyap-led Royal Wahingdoh have been on a fairy-tale ride in their first ever season in the top-flight. Four wins in the opening seven games has helped them top the table after seven rounds.

Going into the game after a 1-2 loss against Mumbai FC in the previous round, the Shillong-based side will be hoping to bounce bank and will depend heavily on their overseas players, Densil Theobald, Loveday Okechukwu, Kim Seong-Yong and Bekay Bawar. The likes of Jackichand Singh and Seityasen Singh have been in form for Wahingdoh and provide enough options in attack.

With top-placed Wahingdoh, second-placed Pune FC and third-placed Mohun Bagan in action this weekend, a combination of results gives each side a chance of topping the table at the end of Round-8. This scenario makes it a must win game for Pune FC as they hope to reclaim the top spot once again. The game kicks off at 7.00 PM IST on Saturday and will be LIVE on Ten Action.