Pune FC get their first victory over Shillong, 8th win in a row
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Pune FC put up a spirited display to overcome Shillong Lajong FC 2-1 on Saturday afternoon at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Shillong. The victory was Pune FC's first over the club from the northeast and the city club remain unbeaten for eight consecutive games.
But while the win has set a new high in Pune FC's history annals, the 3-points courtesy efforts from striker Jeje Lalpekhlua (29th minute) and substitute Khanthang Paite (48th) enabled Pune FC to move into 2nd position in the league table. Pune FC took their points tally to 26 points. Lajong defender Govin Singh pulled one back for the hosts in the 59th minute but Pune FC's win was never in doubt.
The game began with hosts Lajong dominated proceedings in the first quarter. Fourteen minutes into the game, Moga created the first opportunity for the visitors when he set up winger Karma Tsewang only for the keeper to save Karma's long range effort. Three minutes later defender Gurjinder Kumar had his attempt from the top of the box blocked by the Lajong defence. Moments later, Chika Wali drilled his effort wide after getting the ball in control from a corner.
At the other end, Wali had a moment when his boot came off as a Lajong attacker advanced but the sturdy defender did well to block the cross into the box. A couple of minutes later, keeper Abhra Mondal saved a long range effort from Lajong striker Sushil Kumar Singh. A minute from the half-hour mark, Lalpekhlua put Pune FC in the lead. The striker controlled skipper Douhou Pierre's cross in from the right and slotted it into the goal. Soon after, Lalpekhlua, ended his day as he limped off injured and in-came Khanthang Paite.
The hosts almost pulled one back after Singh had a stiff shot from top of the box. Keeper Mondal was at his best and magnificently parried the shot wide at full stretch. Five minutes before half-time, Lajong went on a dangerous counter from midfield, only for an alert Anas Edathodika to clear. On resumption, Paite added a second, three minutes into the second half. The winger, on a well-timed run, headed home a perfect cross from Tsewang on the right. Tempers flared as the referee booked Lajong's Minchol Son and Moga after the duo got into a tangle.