ISL: Stallions steal Steelers off victory with a 2-1 verdict

Pune City striker Marcilnho in action during match against Jamshedpur FC in Pune. Picture ISL

Pune, Jan 24:  Action packed second half which saw seven yellow cards, denied penalties, goal-line clearances, which had all the ingredients for super soccer, FC Pune City who emerged on the top, as they pulled out a thrilling 2-1 win over FC Jamshedpur in the 57th match of the 4th Hero Indian Super League, at the Balewadi Sports Complex here on Wednesday.

The win saw Ranko Popovic coached side on top of the summit, as they go on to top of the league with 22 points from 12 games, ahead of Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC, both of whom have a match in hand, while Jamshedpur stay at 5th with 16 points from 12 games as well.

It was the second halve goals by the Stallions, one each by Gurtej Singh (62nd) and Emiliano Alfaro (66th) enabled them to steal the victory from the Steelers to script a 2-1 verdict. Wellington Priori had put the visitors ahead in the 29th minute of play.

Although, Marcelino did not find his name in the list of scorers it was his spadework which saw them dish out a super game of football. Being in the right place in the right time, this was what Alfaro was all about, and he went on to score the second goal, which turned out to be the match winner, and was rightly adjudged as the man of the match.

Gurtej got Pune back in the match nodding home 18 minutes into the second session (63rd) off Marcelinho’s corner. Incidentally it was Gurtej’s first goal in ISL this season. Three minutes later, Alfaro put the Stallion’s ahead connecting a Marcelino’s centre. Pune keeper Vishal Kaith was in his best collecting the air-borne balls.

It was a fitting gift for Ranko Popovic, who returned to the dug-out for the first time after serving a four-match suspension. With the match drifting out of their hand, Popovic chose to make a double substitution at half time as he brought in Marko Stankovic (for Jonatan Lucca) and Sarthak Golui (for Isaac Vanmalsawma).

It was an exciting 45-odd minutes as both the teams dished out good game of football. There were good moves and chances were galore, but all the chances turned out to be mere threats as the strikers failed to nail neither the nor the goal keeper, it was only Wellington Priori who could make the difference for the visitors.

The debutants, Jamshedpur were the only teams to have conceded the least goals (nine). The closest of the calls came in the injury time, and Pune could have equalised but Alfra messed it up, as Raju Yumnam brought about a superb save.
Commenting on the chances, Steve Coppell said creating chances is one thing, but scoring of these chances is what makes the differences which my team did not do.

Talking about the defeat, the coach said that championship has a long way and we will make amends and bounce back”.
Subrata Paul came off his place forward and in a one-on-one with Marcelinho, the ball falls to Alfaro who just had to slot it in the empty net, could not beat Raju Yumnam who shouldered it out of danger.