Federal Cup 2012 : Jeje gives Pune FC first win of season
Jamshedpur, Sept 20 (IBNS): Pune FC on Thursday logged their first win of the season with a 1-0 win over United Sikkim SC in a Group-D Federation Cup encounter at the Keenan Stadium here.
Pune FC earned three crucial points and shrugged off the sluggish start they had in the Durand Cup wherein they had to exit after two drawn encounters.
Striker Jeje Lalpekhlua (51st minute) settled the issue in Pune FC's favour with a left-footed finish from outside the penalty box.
Jeje's strike was his second of the current season. Interestingly, he also lived up to the fact of being Pune FC top-scorer in the Fed Cup. So far, Jeje has scored four goals for Pune FC in this annually held competition.
The first-time encounter between the two sides began with USFC going all out in attack who played 5-4-1 on their counters.
After trading corner-kicks, it was central midfielder Douhou Pierre who worked the 'keeper well in the ninth minute. Settling into possession play, Pune FC tried hard to find an opening in the opponents defence but could not force any clear cut chance.
With the game 20 minutes old defender Chika Wali, moving up for a corner-kick and ended up heading inched wide off the USFC vertical.
Pune FC continued to push, but was repeatedly checked short of the final third. Adding up as a handicap was the slippery ground owing to a persistent drizzle during the half.
At the other end, USFC gave the Pune FC defence a couple of anxious moments with well played crosses that needed extra attention to keep out.
Thirty-five minutes on and Pune FC medio Arata Izumi squandered a chance from close range from inside the box.
A minute before half-time, Pune FC were awarded a free-kick on the top of the box for a USFC hand-ball. Douhou's attempt rebounded and rolled to Arata, who blasted just over.
At half time the score remained 0-0.
Changing ends, both teams settled into midfield play, until Jeje against the run of play opened the scoring with a crisp try that left the keeper rooted.
The goal helped Pune FC grow in confidence and create a host of chances. USFC did equally well in attack seeking the equalizer. With the game over the hour mark, Pune FC's medio Shanmugam Venkatesh had a good attempt go abegging.
Minutes later, Douhou sent in his free-kick into the box, but found no takers to put away. Pune FC, meanwhile, introduced their Japanese-signing Daisuke Nishiguchi in place of Douhou.
The move helped add thrust to the attack, before Coach Derrick Pereira added Gurjinder Kumar for Arata in his bid to increase the tally.
In doing so, Pune FC held on to possession for long periods, which helped keep USFC at bay for the remaining fifteen minutes of the game.
The win was thus Pune FC's third in a Fed Cup (final phase) opening match in the four they have played since inception.
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