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Posted on Jan 26, 12:01AM | IBNS
Pune FC on Friday went down fighting 1-2 to East Bengal FC in an I-League Round 18 encounter at the Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi here.
Chidi Edeh gave the visitors the lead in the 6th minute before Arata Izumi equalized for Pune FC.
A 75th minute penalty-kick conversion from Chidi gave East Bengal the win.
Pune FC stay 4th with 30 points from 16 games while East Bengal move up to 2nd place with 36 points from 18 games.
Nigerian striker Chidi opened scoring in the six minutes into the game after he got the ball on the right and placed it past Pune FC keeper Abhra Mondal.
Five minutes later, the linesman on the near side somehow failed to notice a blatant handball from East Bengal's Raju Gaikwad. The defender controlled the ball with his hands after going down to the ground inside the box.
Six minutes later, Arata equalised for the home side with a brilliant finish on the half-volley.
Striker James Moga set up Arata with a header and the midfielder sent the ball past a helpless keeper Abhijit Mondal to send the crowd into a frenzy.
The rest of the half produced no close chances and both the teams went into the break tied at 1-1.
Eight minutes after the restart, Moga missed a close chance to put Pune FC in the lead. Arata sent Subash Singh on a run on the left and the striker slid the ball to Moga at the far post.
However the South-Sudanese striker's attempt was blocked by the defense.
Minutes later, Arata's shot from close range on Douhou Pierre's cross hit the side netting. Midway through the half, Moga's header came off the vertical after he did well to connect Othallo Tabia's cross in from the right.
At the other end, East Bengal were awarded a penalty after Subash brought down Chidi which was heavily protested by the home side who claimed that the rival striker went down cheaply.
Chidi then stepped up and converted the spotkick to give East Bengal the lead.
In the final moments of the game, the visitors robbed the excitement from the game as they employed various time-wasting tactics.
Pune FC tried hard for the equalizer; however more breaks for East Bengal players going down to no challenges consumed much of the time.