Thimphu: Pune FC held their nerves to beat Mohun Bagan 7-6 in penalty shootout to secure a place in the King's Cup final at the Changlimithang Stadium here on Sunday.
The win was Pune FC's fifth in a row in the tournament. It also took them to their first-ever final in an overseas tournament.
Both sides were locked at 1-1 after the regulation and extra time of the semifinal match before Pune FC won in the penalty shootout. Mohun Bagan took the lead through Pankaj Moula in 24th minute before striker Prakash Thorat equalised for Pune FC in the 38th minute.
With both sides locked in a stalemate after 120 minutes of play, the match went into penalty shootout where keeper Amrinder Singh's heroics helped Pune FC to a 6-5 sudden death win.
Bagan took the lead off a defensive error. Tirthankar Sarkar's cross from a throw in on the left allowed Pankaj space after Pune FC player Ranjan Singh's misjudgement and he did well to slide the ball past Amrinder.
With a goal down, Pune FC began pushing ahead and had Eric Brown's powerful volley go wide. At the other end, Amrinder once again showed composure to come out and deny Pierre Boya with a great save.
Pune FC kept on pushing ahead and their persistence finally paid off in the 38th minute. Ranjan cut in past a Mohun Bagan defender from the left after collecting a pass from medio Arata Izumi before releasing a cross for playmaker Ryuji Sueoka who then sent it for Prakash to lunge forward and head the ball into Mohun Bagan goal.
In the penalty shootout, both sides were inseparable in the first five kicks, scoring on all occasions. Ryuji Sueoka, Luciano Sabrosa, Arata Izumi, Lalrempuia Fanai and Bineesh Balan scored for Pune FC while Pierre Boya, Katsumi Yusa, Randeep Singh, Tirthankar Sarkar and Lalkamal Bhowmick found the target for Bagan.
As the shootout went into the sudden death, goalkeeper Amrinder proved to be Pune FC's hero. With skipper Anas Edathodika giving Pune FC a 6-5 lead in the tie-breaker, Amrinder saved Pratik Chaudharo's spotkick to send Pune FC into the final.
Pune FC will now face Bangladesh's Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi in the final on December 2.