Pune: Pune FC went down fighting 0-2 to Bengaluru FC in an I-League Round-18 encounter at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, here on Tuesday.
First half strikes from Shankar Sampangiraj (1st minute) and CK Vineeth (44th) handed Pune FC their second consecutive loss at home.
The fourth loss of the season also meant Pune (23 points) dropped down to the 4th place in the standings as Bengaluru (25 points) moved up to third.
Going into the game, Pune coach Karim Bencherifa made four changes handing starts to Nikhil Kadam, Lalramluaha Hmar, Zohmingliana Ralte and Thongkhosiem Haokip.
The hosts had the worst possible start to the game conceding in the very first minute. A quick move on the left straight from kick off had Eugeneson Lyngdoh cross in to attacker Shankar who flicked it into the goal from close range in front of Pune keeper Amrinder Singh.
While Bengaluru attacked on counters, Pune continued to push up and created chance after chance. In the 35th minute, defender Zohmingliana Ralte's dangerous cross in from the right was met well by Haokip but the header lacked direction.
As the first half came to an end, Bengaluru capitalised on a defensive lapse and increased their lead. Winger Vineeth combined with Beikhokhei Beingaichho on the right and blasted home from inside the box to give the visitors a 2-0 lead going into the breather.
Coach Bencherifa made a double change at the start of the second half bringing in Srikanth Ramu and Edgar Marcelino in place of Anas Edathodika and Nikhil Kadam.
Edgar had an immediate impact as his acrobatic attempt two minutes in went just over the horizontal as Pune increased the pressure on their rivals.
While Bengaluru opted to move forward on counter attacks, Pune created moves from the midfield but were falling short in the final third.
Both sides created a few chances in the final ten minutes but found it hard to penetrate into the box. In the dying minutes of the game, Pune had one last chance when Edgar set up Prakash with a brilliant through ball down the middle only for the rival keeper to rush out and intercept as the game ended 0-2 in favour of the visitors.