The Maharashtra Derby lived up to all its hype courtesy of a late goal by Emiliano Alfaro which earned three points for FC Pune City. The stoppage time winner was the Uruguayan’s second goal on the night with the first being the equalizer from the penalty spot.
Head Coach Ranko Popovic made no changes to the side that emerged victorious versus ATK. The line-up had Kamaljit Singh in goal with Baljit Sahni, Rafael Lopez, Gurtej Singh and Lalchhuanmawia Fanai comprising the defensive line. The trident of Marcos Tebar, Rohit Kumar and Isaac Vanmalsawma were drafted into the midfield while Marcelinho, Diego Carlos and Emilano Alfaro being the front-three.
The game began with Mumbai keeping majority of the possession in the opening exchanges. The Ranbir Kapoor co-owned unit started the game with a back-three with the motive being to keep possession and have added cover for Pune’s speed on the counter. The Islanders were the first ones to break the deadlock courtesy of a Balwant Singh screamer – the India international cut back onto his right foot from the left flank and unleashed a thumping effort which landed in the bottom corner. For majority of the second half the game continued to be cagey and at half-time it was 0-1 to Mumbai.
The second half began with Marcos Tebar being cautioned for a challenge in the middle of the park – but that was the only blimp that Pune suffered post the interval. A series of scathering attacks were unleashed on the visiting side with the first one coming from the left hand side courtesy of a wonderful link up play between Fanai, Isaac and Alfaro which gave the home side a corner and brought the crowd to their feet. Pune’s relentless pursuit of a goal came to fruition in the 73rd minute when Diego Carlos was brought down in the box by Raju Gaikwad. The invitation to bring the Stallions level was duly accepted by Emiliano Alfaro who made no mistake.
Head Coach Popovic unleashed Kean Lewis, Jonatan Lucca and subsequently Adil Khan in pursuit of the winning goal and the effort culminated to a stoppage time winner which saw Diego Carlos and Emilano Alfaro hit Mumbai on the counter attack with the Brazilian passing the ball to Alfaro who placed it past Amrinder Singh and brought delight to the fans present.
FC Pune City are placed at second position on the table and will take on Chennaiyin FC in their next fixture on Sunday.