It was a story of two halves when FC Pune City hosted Bengaluru FC on Thursday with the visitors grabbing all three points in the second with a 1-3 scoreline. The Stallions went down to ten men courtesy of Baljit Sahni being given his marching orders after grabbing two cautions.
The home side made two changes from their previous game, fielding Jonatan Lucca and Baljit Sahni in place of Marcelinho and the suspended Lalchhuanmawia Fanai. Both the sides were quick off the blocks and the quality in the units was visible right from the word go. There were some lovely exchanges in midfield for both sides but it was the away team that hit the target first courtesy of a Sunil Chhetri free-kick, but the forward’s attempt was dealt with by Vishal Kaith. Minutes later, the Bengaluru FC captain put the ball in the back of the net but the referee did away with all of the away side’s celebrations declaring that Sunil had fouled Vishal in the process of netting the ball. It was the home side however that drew first blood – Isaac Vanmalsawma danced past his marker on the left to put in a delightful cross which was met heroically by Adil Khan to make it 1-0 to the home side. It was the midfielder’s second goal in as many games. The Stallions had a number of chances to double their lead post the goal but could not convert any – many would have not sensed that they would go on to rue their missed opportunities.
The Stallions began the second half where they left off – stretching Bengaluru with their movement and passing. However, a loss of concentration by Baljit Sahni got the defender his second yellow and his subsequent marching orders. The game turned on its head post the incident and Bengaluru were soon on top.
It was substitute Edu Garcia who cut back the ball from the left and Miku was present in the box to place it in the back of the net and draw things level. The away side took the lead 20 minutes later again courtesy of Miku who chested the ball in the box and drilled it past Vishal Kaith. If there was any doubt in the result, a stoppage time goal by Sunil Chhetri put all anxiety to rest. The game finished at 1-3 in favor of the Blues.
FC Pune City will take on FC Goa in yet another top four clash on December 23, at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa.