Goa, Oct 8: FC Pune City beat FC Goa 2-1 courtesy of a late strike in front of a 19,000-strong crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Saturday evening. The Stallions took the lead in the 26th minute through Arata Izumi before Rafael Coelho equalised for the Gaurs before half-time to make it level-pegging at the break. Super-sub Momar Ndoye proved to be the difference by coming off the bench and scoring in the last minute of regulation time to secure his side’s first win of Hero Indian Super League 2016.
The hosts started brighter of the two sides and earned a free-kick in the sixth minute after Joffre was brought down on the edge of Pune’s pelty area. Coelho took the free-kick but failed to trouble Edel Bete in the Stallions goal.
Pune started seeing more of the ball as the half wore on and made the breakthrough in the 26th minute to silence the home support. Izumi put the Stallions into the lead after a thunderous shot from Jotan Lucca was helped on to the post by Laxmikanth Kattimani. The ball rattled the frame of the goal and fell invitingly to an alert Izumi, who tapped the ball into the net and give his side a 1-0 lead.
The Gaurs responded seven minutes later through Coelho, who got his first goal of the season to bring the home crowd back to their feet. Coelho ran on to a headed flick by Joffre before brushing aside Gouramangi Singh and slotting the ball past Bete in goal to make it 1-1.
It was end-to-end action in the last 10 minutes of the opening period with neither side content on going in at half-time with the scores level. However, a combition of some great defending and assured goalkeeping made sure it was 1-1 at the break.
The first chance of the second half came in the 51st minute after Coelho broke with pace and fired in an effort from distance straight at Bete. Goa had two more golden opportunities to take the lead through substitute Romeo Ferndes three minutes later. The pacey winger first shot directly into Bete after a quickly taken free-kick and then seconds later blazed over the crossbar in a one-on-one situation.
The visitors weren’t prepared to just sit back and defend though and had two opportunities of their own in the 61st minute. Jesus Tato was first denied courtesy of a goal-mouth clearance by FC Goa, while Lucca’s shot on goal from outside the area went straight into Kattimani’s arms.
Bete was called into action again in the 70th minute after Coelho played a ball out wide to find Ferndes on the right flank. Ferndes’ perfectly weighed cross was met with an acrobatic scissor-kick from Trindade Goncalves that the Armenian keeper parried over the bar.
Coelho unleashed another shot from distance seven minutes from time but Bete once again came to the Stallions’ rescue. It proved to be pivotal as substitute Ndoye received a pass from Lucca before turning Lucio and placing a left-footed shot into the top left corner in the 90th minute to seal his side’s first win of the season in spectacular fashion.