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Pune, Nov 4 (BNS): Pune FC was unlucky not to earn a point after being done in 0-1 by Churchill Brothers in an I-League 2012-13 Round 4 encounter at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mhalunge-Balewadi, on Sunday.
Having battled with 10-men in the second half, after defender Caitano Costa was sent off in first-half injury time, Pune FC conceded a suspect penalty-kick which robbed them from their brave heart effort.
Churchill Brothers’ skipper Roberto Silva (Beto) scored from the spot in the second minute of injury time (90+2 minutes) to give Goans all the three points.
The loss was Pune FC’s first at home this season and continued the trend of losing to the Goans for the third consecutive year.
The hosts after Round 4 remained on 6 points and slipped to 7th position on the league table. Churchill moved up to 2nd position.
Pune FC took the field with striker Jeje Lalpekhlua being left out as he is nursing an Achilles tendon. Upfront James Moga played as the lone striker with Daisuke Nishiguchi playing the supportive role in a withdrawn manner.
Both sides constructed moves patiently and play the waiting game. Thirteen minutes into the game and the Goans skipper Roberto Silva created the first real chance of the match.
His 25-yard strike was parried away to safety by Pune FC custodian Shahinlal Meloly.
Ten minutes later, Pune FC’s Daisuke Nishiguchi came close to open the scoring. His header went just wide after he connected a gentle chip from the right from medio Khanthang Paite.
Minutes after the half-hour mark, Daisuke dispossessed Silva and sent Moga on a counter on the left. Moga beat a defender on the left and sent a cross into the box. Daisuke, who continued the run failed to connect the header with force.
Pune FC was reduced to 10-men into first-half injury time after defender Caitano Costa brought down Beto, by tugging his jersey. The half remained goal-less.
Five minutes into the second half, Shahinlal produced another save denying Bilal Najjarine well directed header goal-wards after connecting a free kick from Beto.
Despite a man short, Pune FC put up a spirited show and attacked continuously. Ten minutes into the half, Arata and Moga hit wide from distance.
Minutes past the half hour mark, Daisuke covered ground by intelligently cutting in and sent Moga in the clear on the left with a great pass. The South-Sudanese striker then back-heeled to Karma Tsewang on the run but the winger was denied by defender Ravanan just in time.
Moments later on a counter attack, Steven Dias went on a run on the right before releasing stiff shot. Keeper Shahinlal saved with a good stretch to remove the sting of the shot.
However, as the ball looped and went goalward, Anas was alert enough to clear on the goal-line.
Into the final ten minutes Pune FC created couple chances. First, Moga missed a glorious chance to put Pune FC into the lead after finding himself in a one-to-one situation with keeper Sandip Nandy after weaving past the defence.
Later, Douhou Pierre did well to find Moga inside the box. The striker did well to hold on to the ball but failed to beat the on rushing ‘keeper slamming the ball into him.
Moments later, Douhou’s cross inside the box was cleared by Denzil Franco after the defender came up with a timely interception, with Daisuke lurking in the foregound.
Into the final moments of the game, Pune FC’s hard-work was undone. The referee pointed to the spot after Gurjinder Kumar in his bid to clear brought down substitute Henri Arnaud inside the box. Henri finding Gurjinder stretch his leg utalised the moment to cleverly earn the penalty. The Churchill skipper Beto stepped up and sent Shahinlal the wrong way.