By Debayan Mukherjee,
AIFF Media Team
Mohun Bagan 1 (Pierre Boya – 26th)
Pune FC 1 (Ryuji Sueoka – 66th)
VASCO: Mohun Bagan and Pune FC shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw which saw both sides share exchange of brilliance here in a Group B Hero Federation Cup tie at the Tilak Maidan on Thursday (January 1, 2014).
If the first half belonged to the Kolkata giants, Pune FC ruled the roost in the second. Bagan took the lead through a Pierre Boya first-half header only to see the goal cancelled by Pune FC’s Japanese recruit Ryuji Sueoka who netted from the spot. Pune could have won the match had captain Arata Izumi not found the post from a close range header.
The result takes Bagan to two points from as many matches while Pune FC are riding high on four points.
Coach Karim Bencherifa made two changes to his team that came from behind to win 3-1 against Shillong Lajong in their first match.
Raju Yumnam replaced Munmum Lugun at left and Mumtaz Akhtar made way for Lal Ramluaha in midfield.
Bagan were unchanged.
Bagan started the match strongly. Sony Norde showed why he is so sought after with deft skills on the left channel drawing loud cheers from the motley crowd.
The Haitian who joined Bagan from Bangladesh Premier League champions Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi crossed for Japanese Yusa Katsumi who kept the ball for Boya. The Cameroonian’s shot was deflected out for a corner.
From the resultant corner taken by Norde, the ball was hauled back out of the area as far as Norde who pinged it back in. Boya leapt high to head in leaving India keeper Amrinder Singh with no chance.
Balwant was guilty to missing two chances either side of the goal when he first failed to control a Yusa pass with the keeper at his mercy, and later skewed wide from four yards after right-back Pritam Kotal crossed a Amrinder block off Boya.
Katsumi too came close to doubling the margin, his take fizzing across goal after a solo run from midfield into the box.
Pune on the other hand struggled to get a grip on the game throughout the first half creating no chances of note to trouble Shilton Paul in Bagan goal.
Bencherifa brought on Thongkhosiem Haokip in place of Anthony D’Souza to add zip to the attack.
The move seemed to bear fruit as the Red Lizards looked a different team from the first half. The green and Maroons were also guilty of lifting their foot off the pedal. Rightly, the King’s Cup finalists equalised six minutes into the hour mark.
Inside the box, Brown’s cross from the right hit Shouvik’s hand for referee Tejas Nagvenkar to point towards the dreaded spot. Sueoka stepped up and drilled home a perfectly taken spot kick. A minute later the rejuvenated Pune were inches away from taking the lead.
Sueoka was in the thick of things again as he set up Haokip with a fine floater. The India U-22 striker forced Shilton into a low save with Arata finding the post on the rebound.
For Bagan who fell completely flat post change of ends, Jeje came closest dragging a free header wide off a Katsumi flag kick from the right.
Pune could have pulled away had Haokip not spurned two good chances in the last ten minutes.
Posted on : Thursday January 01, 2015