Late flurry helps Pune get the better of FC Goa

FC Goa went down 2-0 to FC Pune City here at the Balewadi Stadium in Pune thanks to goals from Marcelinho and Marco Stankovic. The Brazilian put the home side in front in the 75th minute of the game thanks to a rocket of a shot from about 25 yards out. Stankovic, meanwhile, put in the final nail in the coffin for Goa in the 4th minute of added on time after Mohamed Ali was adjudged to have fouled the Austrian in the penalty box.

For the Gaurs, the crossbar, the upright and a couple of brilliant saves by Kamaljit Singh were enough to deny the visitors a goal.

A competitive first half saw both sides create chances. It was the visitors though who had the lion’s share of the possession and created the better opportunities on goal. Brandon Fernandes came close to opening the account for Goa in the 22nd minute. His shot, however, was straight at Kamaljit who did well to parry it away.

The Gaurs came close to scoring from the resulting corner as Mourtada Fall’s flick on at the near post was met by Hugo Boumous at the far post. His header on goal took Kamaljit to come up with two swipes to get it away from goal.

The biggest chance for Goa came in the 41st minute as good combination play on the left between Mandar Rao Dessai and Brandon led to a dangerous ball whipped into the middle by Mandar. Coro did well to control the cross and lay if off to his fellow Spaniard. Edu made room for himself to shoot on his favourite left. His effort, though could only find the crossbar.

Pune threatened time and again as well in the first forty-five and it took valiant efforts from Seriton Fernandes and Mohammad Nawaz to keep the home side at bay as the halftime saw both sides head into the dressing room having failed to break the deadlock.

Goa looked threatening time and again in the second forty-five. However, a valiant Pune backline kept the Gaurs at bay. Even when the away side was able to penetrate the defence it was Kamaljit who came to the rescue for Pune, as was the case in the 70th minute. The Pune custodian stretched every sinew in his body to stop Ahmed Jahouh’s shot from distance that was headed for the top corner.

Five minutes later there would be more cause for celebration for the home side as Marcelinho gave Pune the lead. A blistering shot from the Brazilian from about 25 yards out didn’t give Nawaz much of a chance. The lad from Manipur did get his hands to the ball but was unable to keep the shot out.

Goa looked to get the equaliser in the following minutes and came mightily close just a minute later when Jahouh hit the upright from distance.

With Goa committing bodies forward in search of an equaliser late on, it left space for Pune to exploit. They took advantage of the same in the last minute of added on time. Mohamed Ali was deemed to have fouled Stankovic in the box after the Austrian had succeeded in taking up a threatening position in the box.

The veteran stepped up himself to seal the deal for Pune moments later. FC Goa will look to get the season back on track when they play host to NorthEast United on 14 December at the Fatorda stadium in Goa.