I-League: Pune FC beat Arrows to rise to third place

I-League: Pune FC beat Arrows to rise to third placePune: Pune FC began their final assault in the I-League 2011-12 with a 1-0 win over Pailan Arrows in a Round-21 encounter at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi here on Sunday.

The victory was made possible after striker Keita Mandjou (41st minute) netted the all-important goal. The win helped Pune FC maintain their clean sheet against Pailan Arrows at home having beaten them back in February 2011. 

The three points swelled Pune FC tally to 37 points and leveled Mohun Bagan (who are play Round-21) on points in the league standings. However, on head-to-head Pune FC pipped Bagan for the day to occupy third place.

The win was Pune FC’s 10th in the league, and the first over Arrows this season after. Overall, both teams have figured in 5 encounters with Pune FC winning two, while three have been draws.

With Pune FC holding sway initially, it was a eight-man packed defense that Arrows adopted that kept the home side strikers at bay.

Looming crosses from Karma Tsewang and Shanmugam Venkatesh kept the Arrows defence busy. However, neither of them could actually find any of their strikers as Arrows keeper Ravi Kumar was good with his aerial collection.

Both strikers Keita Mandjou and Subash Singh tried hard but in the final third it was a packed defence kept Arrows at bay.

A temporary hold up owing to one of the light towers going blink held up action for about six minutes.

On resumption, Pune FC broke the deadlock through a move down the centre of the pitch. Douhou Pierre put Arata Izumi in the clear to initiate the attack. Arata on a solo moved in and released a pass to an overlapping Keita on the left, who received the ball on the top of the box and did well to place the ball past an onrushing ‘keeper to the second post.

Changing ends, Pune FC took off from where they left off and created three close chances. Five minutes into the half, Subash sent in a crisp low ball from the left to an unmarked Karma in the box, who ended up miscuing his attempt.

Later, Subash and Venkatesh worked out a combination on the left, which saw Venkatesh go clear and deep into the Arrows box. A minus ball to a positioned Keita inside the rival box was messed up with the striker fumbling. As a result, Keita eventually ended losing the ball to the defence from 8-yards out.

After playing provider, Subash was in the thick of action on top of the box. In the clear and with an open goal in sight, the striker was caught in two minds and ended losing the ball without an attempt on target.

Douhou, who played did well in supplying the ball, then had Arata in the clear on the left. Arata cut in, beat a defender and flew his stiff attempt over.

Three minutes from the end, substitute Srikanth Ramu (in for Karma) crossed only to have Keita fall inches short from connecting it.