Pune FC beat Mohun Bagan 2-1 in I-League
Pune: Pune FC came from behind to beat Mohun Bagan 2-1 in a crucial I-League match played at the Balewadi Sports Complex on Tuesday.
The victory took Pune FC to 22 points from 13 matches while Bagan stayed two points ahead from same number of matches.
The match was a perfect example of eleven players playing as an unit versus a team depending on a single individual.
Bagan paid the price for their over-dependence on Odafa Okolie and a weak defence. All balls were addressed to Odafa thus making Pune FC`s job easier.
To make matters worse for Bagan, NP Pradeep, playing as the right back and stopper Anwar Ali found it hard to gauge and intercept the wave of Pune attacks.
The yawning gaps in the Bagan defence made all wonder as to how a star-studded and high-spending team`s players could afford to be so slow and lackluster.
But it was Bagan who began on an aggressive note. Odafa put Bagan in the lead in the 22nd minute. Receiving a pass just outside the Pune FC box, the goal-machine thundered a grounder which beat the diving rival goalkeeper Abhra Mondal.
But Pune FC regrouped fast. They slowly took possession of the midfield and spotted out a slow NP Pradeep and Anwar Ali as the weak links in the Bagan defence. And it paid dividends when substitute striker Jeje Lalpekhlua equalised for Pune with his first touch of the ball in the 36th minute.
Pune FC left-half, Lester Fernandes made a mockery of Pradeep on the left flank and Jeje sneaked in between an out of position Anwar Ali and Syed Rahim Nabi to head it in.
Changing over, Fernandes headed in the match-winner in the 56th minute. Mandjou Keita broke down the right flank and centered for an unmarked Fernandes to head it in.
Bagan`s sole chance in the second half was when Lima`s long-ranger hit the post.