PFC downs Arrows, denies them 10-match run
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The setting for a comeback was not the home ground for the Pune Football Club (PFC) but the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Friday and the rival the Pahilan Arrows riding on 9-match unbeaten streak.
Fresh after two back-to-back I-League losses, one home and the other away, the PFC dressing room message was clear, go out and win. And the team pulled it off in style, downing the Arrows 2-0 for its first away victory of the I-League season.
Coach Pereira looked confident of the team and fielded an attacking squad. It paid off when Karma Tsewang scored the opening goal after James Moga did well to draw off two defenders before sending the ball to Subhash Singh.
Singh headed the ball perfectly to Karma who did not miss at close firing range. Earlier they had almost gone into the lead in the second minute when Singh lurked dangerously close to the Arrows backline but was denied by Arrows custodian Soram Poirei. Arrows tried to penetrate the PFC defence but Anas Edathodika was well up to the test and thwarted all their moves to enter the PFC box.
After switching ends, Arrows tried hard to level the first-half lag, but the PFC launched a counter that saw them regularly break the AIFF's developmental side's defence, only to fumble at the last mile.
Finally a long header by James Moga found found Subhash Singh who managed to double the lead immediately. Arrows striker Holicharan Narzary dazzled with some fancy footwork as he tried to push into the Pune FC box. Defender Srikanth Ramu blocked the striker in time but the ball rolled out again to an Arrows striker and was eventually blocked by PFC keeper Shahinlal Meloly. That did not end the Arrows assault as the ensuing corner-kick saw Shahinlal pull off a brilliant save to nullify the only threat the opponents made during the match.