I-League: Pune win thriller against Mumbai
Nishiguchi Daisuke, who until recently played in the Moldovan league scored a brace and set up the winner as Pune FC defeated Mumbai FC 3-2 to win the home Maharashtra Derby at the Balewadi Sports Complex here on Thursday.
Daisuke scored on either side of the half after Mumbai FC had taken the initiative and the halftime lead to leave home team scurrying before the parity was restored. Daisuke was again in the middle of action when he moved up from the right before sending a minus for Jeje Lalpekhlua to score the winner in the 71st minute.
The win boosted Pune FC to six points from two matches, while Mumbai FC slumped to their second straight loss and are yet to open the account.
Pune FC dominated for most part but, a few gaps they left allowed Mumbai to sneak into the match after having conceded the goal early in the match. Midfielder Chika Wali played a defence-splitting through ball on the right flank just as Daisuke times his run well before firing the goal around Mumbai goalkeeper Kunal Sawant, who had advance too much ahead to leave a gap between him and the goal.
Mumbai FC earned a free-kick in the 17th minute on which Evaws Quao sent a powerful shot that rattled Pune FC goalkeeper Shahinlal Meloly. In the ensuing corner, Nicholas Rodrigues sent a measured shot that found unmarked Quao lurking in front of the goal. A simple header put Mumbai FC on the even terms.
Two minutes later Daisuke found the net, but he was flagged off-side. Pune FC kept a steady pace of attacks as skipper Douhou Pierre moved from the centre before earning a corner, but the chance was wasted without even threatening the rival post.
Jeje then joined Douhou in a attack from the right that saw Mumbai defenders fouling to hand Pune FC a free-kick 40 yards from the box. On Douhou's free-kick, Jeje headed from the left only to see the ball fly over the post.
It was Mumbai's time to enact the same script when Rodrigues took the corner. Instead of Quao, Pune FC left ND Opara unmarked and he was well-placed to volley the ball into the netting as Mumbai took 2-1 lead.
Four minutes before the half-time, Pune FC let a chance go a begging. Khanthang Paite floated his free-kick from the right into the box to have Gurjinder Kumar on the left head it into the box to create a melee. After several miss-hits, Mumbai FC defense cleared the danger.
Then Douhou sent a crisp cross from the right to Jeje, but his header was nicely saved by diving Kunal Sawant.
On changing the ends, Mumbai FC was on a roll with Manager Khalid Jamil keeping his boys on toes. But Pune FC had other plans. They only had to force their mid-fielders up to unsettle Mumbai FC.
It was Daisuke again, in the 51st minute who slotted in the equalizer. Twenty minutes later, Jeje won a ball from Peter Costa and slid it to Daisuke, who charged ahead to the right before sending the ball again to Jeje, who controlled it nicely to head to the top of the box and neatly finishes with his left footer.