FC Pune City Win A Seven Goal Thriller Againt Delhi Dynamos
Pune came into this one desperate for the three points to stay in the race for the top four, while Delhi Dynamos sat pretty on top of the table. However, with Delhi’s free-flowing attacking football and FC Pune City’s surge to make it to the playoffs, it promised to be an exciting encounter.
And they didn’t disappoint. The 6000 odd people at the Balewadi sports complex were treated with a 7-goal thriller. Arguably the best game of the season so far from the neutral’s perspective, if not the critic’s. Delhi, not surprisingly, have been a part of two intense goal fests, as the Lions played out a 3-3 draw with Mumbai City FC earlier in the campaign. Antonio Habas’ side were the better team in the first half, creating 4 clear openings, but they failed to convert any of them. Marquee Mohamed Sissoko saw his penalty saved after Anibal Rodriguez was brought down inside the box. Momar Ndoye, the spunky Senegalese, was denied twice in one on one situations with the keeper. The winger looked a threat down the left, but couldn’t break the deadlock.
As the hosts were knocking on the door for most part of the first half, the crowd sniffed a goal. However, Kean Lewis had other ideas. In the 44th minute, Marcelinho Perrera back-heeled the ball delightfully into the path of Memo, who found Kean in space. And the Tata Football academy graduate didn’t disappoint. The 24-year old who has been on fire this season, fired his side in front with a neat left-foot finish. Pune’s woes continued, and as half time arrived, Habas knew his team’s fate would depend on the next 45 minutes of football.
Hrithik Roshan said at half time that if any team could turn it around, it was FC Pune City. Turned out the Superstar actor was spot on, as his team showed immense character and came out all guns blazing in the second half. They were soon rewarded for their attacking approach, when Anibal rose above Delhi’s defense to head home into the far post from a Jonathon Lucca free-kick. Sissoko made amends for his missed penalty and slotted home from close range in the 62nd minute. Pune had the lead, but they seemed to have plenty left in their tank. An error in the Delhi defense saw Anibal collect the ball 30 yards from goal. Pune’s number 9 was in space as his teammates blazed forward to provide support. However, Anibal didn’t need support and chose to let fly from 23- yards to score. Soren Porei didnt even move, that’s how good the strike was. Pune were on the verge of a crucial win that would see them climb up to 4th spot with 15 points.
However, Delhi had scored 19 goals in the season and are by far the best attacking side in the league. The visitors capitalized on Pune’s inability to hold on to the win, and scored in the 79th minute as Eduardo Ferreira scored an unfortunate own goal. Pune struck back again, this time through substitute Lenny Rodriguez. But again, Delhi didn’t seem to give up and made it 4-3 in stoppage time through Malsawmzuala.
It proved futile in the end, as the final whistle blew and the crowd erupted in ecstasy. FC Pune City are back in the hunt for the top 4, as Delhi still stay top of the table with 17 points.
Blue and Yellow to clash tonight, the result hopefully not to be Red!
Mumbai City FC will take on the Kerala Blasters tonight at the Andheri Sports Complex, Mumbai. A point is all that separates the two teams at the moment, placed second and third in the table respectively. However, one only has to look at FC Pune City’s journey to know that the tide can turn in a heartbeat and nothing should be taken for granted. It’s all to play for, in Mumbai.
FC The hosts have managed to score just three goals in their last matches. Their home form has not been great either, securing just one win out of four. Alexandre Guimmaraes would want to put that record straight against Kerala Blasters. On paper, Mumbai City FC boast the best attack. Indian captain Sunil Chhetri has played two games since returning from the AFC Cup, but has not opened his account for the season. Diego Forlan, the star man, is not quite receiving a great deal of service because when he does, he most certainly puts the ball at the back of the net as he has on two occasions this season. Sony Norde is yet to hit top form, as the Mumbai fans hope to see the prolific Norde from last season.
Kerala are on the back of two back to back victories against FC Goa and Chennayin FC. Steve Coppell will be hoping to take that form into this game, as Kerala look to leapfrog Mumbai in the ISL table. CK Vineeth has arrived from the AFC cup into this Kerala Blasters lineup like a breath of fresh air. The 28-year old has just played 112 minutes so far and has managed to score three goals. His five shots so far have all been on target. Talk about a trump-card! The visitors will lineup in a 4-1-3-2 formation, with Azrack providing protection to the back four which anyway looks solid with Jhingan and Hengbart at the heart of it. Kerala have the best defensive record this season, but have been struggling attackingly. Michael Chopra seems to have gone quiet after his initial spur of great form, but one positive has surely been Belfort. His pace and trickery has been giving problems to all the defenses in the league, and the 24-year ha proven to be a key player for the Sachin Tendulkar-owned team.
Mumbai City FC 1-1 Kerala Blasters
There’s little to choose between the two teams in terms of quality, so we expect them to share the spoils tonight. A draw would probably not be a bad result for either team, as they both look to secure their playoff spots.