INDIAN FOOTBALL : I-LEAGUE 2014-15 REPORT

I-LEAGUE 2014-15 :Pune FC beat Salgaocar 1-0 at home

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Pune FC 1-0 Salgaocar FC

07.04.2015 : PUNE FC -- 1-0 -- SALGAOCAR (FT)
PFC scorer and M.O.M : Seuoka 83'
PFC : Amrinder, Luciano, Mathew, Raju, Anas, Lalrempuia, Arata, Mumtaz Darko, Haokip, Sueoka
SAL : Karanjit, Francis, Augustine, Gurjinder, Gilbert, Duffy, Douhou, Zakeer, Jairu, Rocus Brian.

Pune FC maintained their unbeaten home run and logged a stunning 1-0 win over Salgaocar FC in an I-League Round 15 encounter at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi on Tuesday. Playmaker Ryuji Sueoka scored the only goal of the game in the 83rd minute which handed Pune FC their first win in four games since February. The win was also Pune FC's fifth of the campaign and took their tally to 20 points as they stay in the 4th position. Moreover, the first victory over Salgaocar in four matches this season was also Pune FC's first at home over the Goans after three years. Going into the game, Pune FC Coach Karim Bencherifa made two changes handing starts to Arata Izumi and Mumtaz Akhtar while newly promoted Under-19 player Myron Mendes started on the bench.

The game began with visitors Salgaocar FC dominating proceedings early on. Nonetheless, having soaked pressure, Pune FC settled in and began pushing forward. It was in the 10th minute that Pune FC first went close. Arata set on a solo run down the left and floated in a cross to striker Darko Nikac whom managed to get a connection on a high ball but Salgaocar keeper Karanjit Singh managed to parry it away.

Pune FC 1-0 Salgaocar FC

At the other end, Salgaocar relied heavily on Douhou Pierre for the creativity upfront but the ex-Pune FC man was marked out well and kept at bay. In the 26th minute, Pune FC had a close moment. Salgaocar striker Daryll Duffy was sent clear on a counter attack and had just an advanced keeper Amrinder Singh to beat. However, the custodian kept his calm and made a good block outside the box.

A minute later, Pune FC went close at the other end. Lalrempuia Fanai got into the clear on the right, created space and took a crack from an acute angle. It was once again the keeper who kept Salgaocar in the game with a neat save. Both sides had a few more chances in the last fifteen minutes but went into the breather tied at goalless.

The second half began in a dramatic fashion. While both sides came out with the intent to find the opener, it was Salgaocar who went close first. Douhou who beat the offside trap was denied by the woodwork after his attempt from 5-yards came had beaten Amrinder in the 50th minute.

At the other end, Darko and Thongkhosiem Haokip too had a couple of chances but lacked the finish in final third. Nonetheless, Pune FC almost got the opener in the 57th minute. Sueoka sent Darko through on the right and the striker fired in a low shot which was somehow parried away by Karanjit in the rival goal.

There was a controversial moment in the 60th minute of the match when Karanjit handled the ball outside the box. However, referee R. Venkatesh only produced a yellow as the hosts protested for a sending off. Five minutes later, Pune FC went close once again. This time, Mathew Gonsalves perfect cross from the right was met by Darko but the header sailed inches wide at the far post.

Moments later, Pune FC survived once again as Duffy’s attempt on a counter too came off the woodwork after the lob had beaten an advanced Amrinder. Pune FC's persistence finally paid off as they took the lead in the 83rd minute. Darko with a great solo run down the left cut back for Sueoka inside the box and the Japanese hammered home from close range for his seventh goal of the season.

Salgaocar tried to push up in the final minutes of the game, but Pune FC held on for a well deserved win.

FT : Pune FC win 1-0.
86': CHANGE - SALGAOCAR : Thyanjam Singh in and Brian out .
85': SCORE LINE - Pune FC 1-0 Salgaocar.
83': GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL : Pune FC scored Through Seuoka.
80': YELLOW CARD to Rocus Lamare of Salgaocar.
70': CHANGE- PUNE : Ramlalluaha in and Mumtaz
66': CHANGE - PUNE : Nikhil in and Haokip out.
65': 0-0 still is the score line.
55': YELLOW CARD to Salgaocar keeper Karanjit.
50': No score.
46': Starts of 2nd Half.
HT : 0-0
40': Score line is 0-0.
27': Puia's shot saved well by Karanjit.
25': Attack of Pune from Left Raju's cross to Sueoka cleared in Salgaocar Box.
20': SCORE LINE is 0-0.
15': Corner to Salgaocar but Amrinder cleared from Douhou's heading effort.
13': Attack of Pune, Lalrempuia's long cross from rihgt went Straight to Karanjit.
10': SCORE LINE 0-0.
1': Match starts.

PREVIEW - PFC PRESS RELEASE : Pune FC will be up against familiar foes when they host Salgaocar FC in an I-League Round-15 encounter at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi on Tuesday. Playing their second game in four days after being held to a 1-1 draw by Bharat FC in the first-ever Pune Derby on Saturday, Pune FC will face Salgaocar for the fourth time this season. Earlier, both sides faced off thrice in the Durand Cup final (November), Federation Cup group stage (January) and the I-League opener (January).

Interestingly, all these three matches were played on Goan soil and it will be the first time Pune FC will play Salgaocar outside the coastal state this season. Moreover, having failed to register a win in all three games, Pune FC will be fired up to get the result at home. However, Coach Karim Bencherifa will want his side to be cautious against a strong Salgaocar side led by ex-Pune FC Coach Derrick Pereira.

"There was hardly any time to think about the last game. As soon as the final whistle blew, we started thinking about this game because we had just two days. However, we had a discussion to highlight a few things from the previous game that we need to improve and work on. At the same time, we also worked on the positives from the game. Every game is a tricky one in the I-league due to the competitiveness and we need to be prepared," said Coach Bencherifa on the eve of the clash.

Salgaocar FC (14 pts) currently in the 5th place in the table just three points behind fourth placed Pune FC (17 pts), and thus the game carries added significance as both sides will look to improve their positions. Furthermore, having earned just two points in the last three games after the international break, Pune FC will be looking to shrug off their poor run and get back to winning ways. With the big game against East Bengal coming up this weekend, Pune FC will hope to get the most out of the Salgaocar game to carry forward the momentum.

Speaking about the visitors, Coach Bencherifa added, "Salgaocar is a team that likes to play football and are known for their fair play like us. The three games that we have played against them in this season have all been closely fought. Tomorrow, it won't be any different and we are looking forward to a good match." On the team news front, Pune FC will be missing the services of medio Dhanpal Ganesh. The India-international played every single minute in all competitions this season and misses out having been sent off late on in the previous game against Bharat FC. Nonetheless, the squad will be boosted by the return of medio Arata Izumi who is back after serving his one match suspension for receiving four yellow cards.

Meanwhile, Portuguese winger Edgar Marcelino will be a doubt for the game having been substituted early on with a hamstring injury in the previous round. Apart from a couple of long term absentees, the rest of the team is fit and will be available for selection on matchday. On the other hand, Salgaocar FC comes into the game one the back of a mixed run of results. The Goans have lost thrice and won twice alternatively in their last five games with the latest being a defeat to Mohun Bagan in Kolkata.

Going into the game, Salgaocar will depend heavily on playmaker Douhou Pierre. The ex-Pune FC man returns to the Balewadi Stadium to face Pune FC for the first time since switching sides at the start of the season. The Ivorian will be joined by another former Pune FC defender Gurjinder Kumar who too will be making his return to the Balewadi Stadium. Apart from Douhou, the likes of Daryll Duffy, Francis Kasonde and Khaled Hasan will form the spine of the team while Rocus Lamare, Subrata Paul and Augustine Fernandes will add to the experience.

Over the years, both sides have faced off fifteen times and share six wins each. However, this fixture also boasts an interesting stat with the away side logging more wins than the home side in the I-League; and in five games at the Balewadi Stadium, Salgaocar have logged three wins compared to Pune FC's one. Thus a win on the morrow is extremely vital for Pune FC who look to set the record straight. The game kicks off under floodlights at 7.00 PM on Tuesday.