NEUFC goes on top as Pune FC suffered second demise at home
NorthEast United FC clinched the top spot once again after beating FC Pune City 1-0 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Balewadi, Pune on Wednesday. Pune FC already played a derby against Mumbai and lost, looked like they are in derby against NEUFC, as both sides players sent off in this high octane Hero ISL 2016 encounter. NorthEast’s Nirmal Chettri saw red in the 36th minute, while Pune’s Eduardo Ferreira was sent of 20 minutes from time. Pune didn’t capitalize during their man advantage time, but NEUFC were quick to find a goal once they got level on men, as Emiliano Alfaro scored the only goal of the game in the 79th minute to take NEUFC on the top.
Both sides have their chances in the first quarter of the game, but failed to impress in goal terms. Then, NorthEast gone a man down in 36th minute after Chettri received a direct red for a late tackle on Anibal Rodriguez. Pune didn’t capitalize on their man advantage, and it was NorthEast who were looking to grab something five minutes before the break. It came from a Romaric free-kick that was guided towards goal by Alfaro but Bete was alert to the danger and punched clear to make it 0-0 at half-time.
Pune desperation to make most of a man advantage brought on Arata Izumi for Gouramangi Singh in second-half. Lucca took Pune’s first shot of the half on goal but Subrata Paul made a comfortable save to deny the west side..
The Highlanders’ first shot of the second-half came in the 56th minute after Romaric surged from deep inside his own half unleashed a powerful shot that went straight into Bete’s arms as the home crowd breathed a sigh of relief.
Velez and Alfaro already created trouble in first-half for homeside, combination continued to keep the hosts alert in defence. This time Alfaro squared to Velez on the edge of the Stallions’ box but the Argentine’s first-time shot on goal failed to trouble Bete and flew over the crossbar.
NEUFC were already looking more agile than the Pune side, and in 71st minute Pune got the blow when Eduardo Ferreira was shown red by the referee after picking up his second yellow of the game. Pune struggled with 11 men on the pitch against Northeast’s 10 men side, now on level with them, making it ten versus ten for the final 20 minutes of the match.
And, no surprise Highlanders find the winner in 79th minute only after 9 minutes when both side goes on level. Romaric passed a quick ball in behind Pune’s backline to Velez. The Argentine found Katsumi, whose scuffed shot made its way to Alfaro, and he made no mistake to finish off with his left foot to make it 1-0.
Pune were regretting they didn’t count on their man advantage, and visitors were looking for more humiliation to the home side at the same time. Romaric another delightful ball passed to Velez in the 86th minute and he takes his shot. But this time Bete came to his side’s rescue with a save low to his right to keep the game open for the four minutes of time left in normal time, plus added time. There was much time to find an equalizer but Pune failed to create any chances which could have cause trouble to Paul, and NorthEast United FC goes on top registering their third win out of four matches.