Pune FC rally to stun East Bengal

Pune FC rally to stun East Bengal

Pune FC rally to stun East Bengal

Pune FC struck through Ishfaq Ahmed and Thongkhosiem Hapkip to stage a stunning return from behind and upset East Bengal 2-1 in their return leg fixture of the I-League football tournament, here today.

The red and gold brigade wasted plenty of chances in the first half before finally breaking the deadlock with a 44th minute lead through Dudu Omagbemi who struck the top of the corner from a Mehtab Hossain pass.

But their joy was short lived as Ishfaq Ahmed brought on a delightful equaliser from a floating header in 45+1st minute to bring the match on an even keel at the break.

Nothing going the East Bengal's way, an unmarked Haokip easily dabbed the ball into the open net as he struck with his right foot and the ball hit the opposite post before rolling in to seal the win in the 65th minute.

Pune FC (26 points) thus avenged their home leg loss to East Bengal as both the teams find themselves level on points though the red and gold brigade with a match in hand are ahead at fifth place on goal difference.

The hosts started on a positive note and in only the second minute of the game, Cavin Lobo and Harmanjot Khabra combined well to feed Ranti Martins. The Nigerian, however went down inside the area under minimal pressure.

The Nigerian was in the thick of things once again in the 12th minute, when he pounced on to a cross by Tluanaga, but the header went above the target.

On the half hour mark, East Bengal had the first clear-cut chance of the game. Cavin Lobo sent in a sublime chipped through ball for Ranti and the veteran took a touch with his head to take it under control. He then tried to slot it past onrushing Amrinder but an outstretched leg of the custodian denied the effort from going in.

In the 40th minute of the match, Darko Nikac went on a long run after receiving the ball from substitute Ishfaq Ahmed, but couldn’t find enough space to shoot it himself. He laid it on the path of Ishfaq but the midfielder could only hit the side-netting from close.