PFC hammer 6 goals against hapless United Sikkim FC
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In their final group match, Pune FC hammered United Sikkim FC 6-1 for their first win of the 117 th IFA Shield at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata. Victory put PFC on level with Deportivo Saprissa with 4 points each. However, with the Central Americans scheduled to play United Sikkim FC (0 points) on Tuesday, PFC's progress to the semifinals rests on a favourable result, including goal-difference.
A USFC's win will help PFC progress, but a loss with a margin of 2 goals will mean curtains. PFC has a +2 goal difference, while Saprissa is +1. With a job cut out against USFC, Pune FC went into the match with purpose. Striker James Moga struck a hat-trick (27 th , 64 th , 78 th minutes), which again was a first of sorts by any PFC player. While Moga completed his heroic feat in the second half, PFC had striker Boima Karpeh (9th), defender Zohmingliana Ralte (49th) and substitute Subash Singh (87th) add to the tally, with USFC pulling one back through Paablo Rodrigues' 25 th minute penalty kick conversion.
After going close in the early exchanges, PFC took the lead through Karpeh. The striker from the right did well to receive and control and get into the penalty box by cutting past a defender and then bulldozing past another. Once clear, he unleashed a powerful left-foot past 'keeper Rakshit. Midway into the the game, the opponents were rewarded a penalty after PFC custodian Abhra Mondal fouled the USFC striker on the long ball inside the penalty area. Striker, Rodrigues, made no mistake from the spot to level terms. Three minutes later, PFC once again restored their lead. Moga did well to shield a defender before turning intelligently to create space and score.
At the other end, PFC defense were holding firm with keeper Abhra Mondal flapping a try over and Nuruddin Salau getting through for a try that went wide. At the break, Pune FC led 2-1. PFC came out all guns blazing in the second half and increased their lead almost instantly. Karpeh earned a free kick after an Abhishek Das' studs-up challenge on him. The free kick was intelligently worked by Moga who faked a shot before sliding the ball to Rocha on the run.