Visitors go down to archrivals Pune in Maharashtra derby
Pune: Mumbai City FC opened their Indian Super League (ISL) 2015 campaign with a defeat at the hands of State rivals FC Pune City 3-1 in their Maharashtra derby at the Balewadi Stadium, Pune on Monday. Mumbai, who were without their experienced Indian players — Sunil Chhetri and goalkeeper Subrata Pal–, looked listless through the match as Pune striker Tuncay Sanli ran the visitors ragged with goals in either side of the half.
Midfielder Israil Gurung scored the third goal with a splendid shot to beat the Mumbai FC goalkeeper. Mumbai’s lone goal came through Federic Piquionne. The match started with the visitors going on the attack from the word go, as they pressed Pune goalkeeper in action thrice in first five minutes.
Pune, who took time to settle down, survived early jitters as they attacked on the counter and put in long-balls into the Mumbai half. Just when Mumbai looked set to take control of the match, much against the run of play, Pune struck to take the lead. Midfielder Gurung made pacy run down the right wing and put drilled in a cross for Tuncay Sanil, who coolly headed home the goal from a close range to give home the lead in the 12th minute.
The goal seemed to give Pune the much required boost as they kept on attacking down the wings with Gurung making threatening runs in to the opponents half.
Mumbai pressed hard for the equaliser and came close to scoring, as Winger Sanju Norde hammered one towards the goal only to hit the bar. Minutes later Mumbai City’s persistence paid off when Piquionne rose over the Pune defenders to headed the goal into the net in the 34th minute.
Mumbai kept on attacking, but failed to convert the chances. The visitors, playing with five midfielders, were not sharp enough in the final third as chances after chances went in vain.
The first-half ended all square, with Pune looking the dangerous of the two sides.
Pune manager David Platt introduced Yendrick Riuz at the half time. The hosts continued from where they had left as they continued to attack down the wing with Gurjinder Singh and Nicholas Shorey making overlapping runs.
Pune’s persistence paid off when, Gurung once again made an attacking ran down the wing to find Sanil, as the former EPL player rose to head the ball past Mumbai goalkeeper Albino Gomes, to put the hosts in the lead.
Mumbai upped the attack in a bid to get the equaliser. Gurung looked unstoppable as he once again made a run down the wing and came up with a breath-taking goal as he chipped the ball over the goalkeeper straight into the net to score Pune’s third of the day in the 67th minute.
In the bid to up the tempo, Mumbai manager, Nicolas Anelka came as a substitute in the 74th minute. Pune looked in control despite Mumbai’s effort to create goal scoring chances.
Mumbai forward Piquionne missed a glorious chance to reduce the margin in the 84th minute as the ball sailed over the goal rounding off visitors day on the field.
With this win, Pune registered their second straight Maharashtra derby win. Pune will next face NorthEast United FC on October 9 at home, while Mumbai will take on Kerala Blasters FC in Kochi on October 10.