Pune FC dominate proceedings for a handsome 5-2 win over Shillong Lajong

I league

Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex at Pune hosted the Thursday evening I- League encounter between Pune FC and Shillong Lajong FC. Both the teams had emerged triumphant in their last match, Pune over Bengaluru FC and Shillong over Mumbai FC.

Pune were clearly on the hunt for a victory as coach Karim Bencherifa started off with the same 11 while Shillong had three changes from the last win.

Pune FC kicked off the game and within the 2nd minute itself went 1-0 up in the game. A suicidal lapse by a Lajong defender saw him pass the ball straight into Thongkhosiem Haokip’s path who made no error to hammer the ball past keeper Rehenesh for the goal!

It was 4th minute on the clock and Lajong could have pulled it back however goal keeper Ralte’s clearance off a low cross from Cornell Glen saw the score line remain the same.

As Pune FC were tearing Lajong apart, they got a corner in the 12th minute, a good left cross was put in and the ball found Haokip again who rised to nod it in and double the lead.

Pune were not halting for a breather as three minutes later (15”), another defense error resulted in the hat-trick for Haokip. Seuoka’s shot was saved by Rehenesh but Haokip quick fired the ball on rebound which took a defection off Khongjee to touch the back of the nets.

The 30 minute mark could have witnessed another Pune firecracker but the Japanese Seuoka missed the target from very close to the box.

Shillong who had missed quite a few chances earlier, eventually managed to get a goal on the 36th minute when Durga Boro hammered in a long ranger from over 30 yards off the box right into the bottom left corner, keeper Amrinder stood no chance of guarding this one.

After this goal, Pune were not going to sit back on the lead. 43rd minute saw Seuoka finally avenge the missed opportunity from earlier on, Matthew bought out the ball to the far post to Darko who laid it on for Seuoka to tap it in for the Red Lizard’s fourth goal.

If this wasn’t sufficient, Nikac Darko got past 4 defenders in the 45th minute to get his goal with a shot that slot past in between the Shillong keeper Rehenesh’s legs to scoop into the bottom left corner.

Thus the two teams went into the break with Pune FC leading 5-1 over their North East visitors after a much entertaining first half.

Pune restarted the second half from the same point where they had off, with Darko setting it up for a team mate right outside the box on the 46th minute, Rehenesh fumbled yet managed to save it.

The 63rd minute saw two rare yet successive corners for Shillong Lajong, the first one was cleared by Luciano while the second one that did cause some stir in the Pune defense was ultimately hacked away.

The visitors then got their consolation goal on the 75th minute when Cornell Glen raced clear past the Pune defenders and to his advantage had the keeper Rehenesh coming out and thus creating a little space on the right for a perfect finish on goal.

The home crowd had a moment of cheer in the 81st minute but it was short lived as Prakash Thorat, the local boy missed a set piece chipped in from the sides by Darko Nikac.

The last ten minutes progressed without much flurry of activity and thus the match ended with Lajong in tatters.

The Hero of the Match was awarded to Thongkhosiem Haokip who virtually killed the game off at the very start with his hat-trick to become league’s top goal scorer with 4 goals to his name.

So after what was a goal fiesta, Pune FC on account of this big home win are on the second position in the points table just beneath Royal Wahingdoh while Shillong Lajong have had two defeats in their 3 games so far.

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