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I-League: Pune FC blow two-goal lead; go down 2-3 to Rangdajied United

Pune FC blew off a two goal lead as they went down 2-3 to Rangdajied United in an I-League Round-14 encounter at the Jawharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong on Wednesday.

Goals from striker Riga Mustapha (23rd minute) and defender Gurjinder Kumar (34th) gave Pune FC a comfortable two goal lead going into half-time.

Striker Edmar Figueira (61st) pulled one back for the hosts at the hour mark before injury time strikes from striker Kim Song Young (90+3rd) and substitute Lalnunpuia (90+4th) handed Pune FC their second defeat in a row.

The defeat was Pune FC’s third in the season as they now slip down to fifth place with 19 points. The hosts meanwhile stayed twelfth with 11 points.

Coach Mike Snoei made three changes to the team from the previous round handing starts to striker Thongkhosiem Haokip, medio Dhanpal Ganesh and defender Salam Ranjan Singh.

The initial exchanges of the game saw Pune FC stay rooted in the Rangdajied half before going close in the 8th minute. Playmaker Douhou Pierre sent medio Arata Izumi through only for defender Lamine Tamba to hack him down and earning a yellow card.

Five minutes later at the other end, defender Calum Angus blocked Edmar’s shot off a loose ball outside the box. The rebound fell for Tomba Singh whose attempt went over.

After holding on to few Rangdajied attacks, Pune FC finally took the lead midway through the half. After feeding Arata down the right, Riga slammed home his pull back across the top of the box. Riga’s attempt went in after smashing the underside of the crossbar and was his third goal of the season.

Couple minutes past the half hour mark, the hosts once again went close. Striker Kim dangerously cut inside and created space away from skipper Anas Edathodika to get into a good position only for his attempt to sail over.

Minutes later, Pune FC doubled their advantage. Once again, Riga and Arata combined as the latter’s cross was controlled and laid off by Riga for an on rushing Gurjinder, whose powerful shot ended up in the net after a slight deflection.

Thereafter, both sides kept pressing but couldn’t score as Pune FC took their two-goal lead into the break.

The second half was a different story as the hosts pushed further up keeping the Pune FC defense busy.

Ten minutes in, Pune FC had keeper Amrinder Singh to thank after he produced a brilliant double-save. First, he denied substitute David Ngaihte who timed his run perfectly behind the Pune FC defense on a diagonal ball before blocking the rebound too.

At the hour mark, Pune FC had a brilliant chance to increase their advantage after Riga managed to get into the clear off a chip. However, Rangdajied ‘keeper Subrata Paul was alert as he left guard to clear the danger.

At the other end, the hosts pulled a goal back through Edmar. The Brazilian controlled a long flick-on before using strength to hold off defender Ranjan Singh’s challenge. The striker then unleashed a powerful left-footed shot across the goal to bring Rangdajied back into the game.

With Pune FC holding on to their one goal lead as the game approached the final whistle, defensive lapses saw the hosts turn the match in their favour.

The Pune FC defense’s failure to clear long balls into the box, saw Kim score from close range to equalise for Rangdajied three minutes into injury time.

A minute later, it went from bad to worse for Pune FC. Substitute Lalnunpuia’s long range effort beat the helpless Amrinder as it floated into the net handing Rangdajied a dramatic win.