FC Pune City 1-0 NorthEast United FC: Rehenesh stars in resilient NorthEast performance




3rd, November 2014: A resilient NorthEast United FC side was undone right at the death as John Goossens scored an 88th minute winner to give FC Pune City a 1-0 victory at the Balewadi stadium on Monday evening.
FC Pune City 1-0 NorthEast United FC: Rehenesh stars in resilient NorthEast performance

FC Pune City 1-0 NorthEast United FC: Rehenesh stars in resilient NorthEast performance

Head Coach of NEUFC Ricki Herbert stated at the post match press conference, “It was a little disappointing and a little challenging. It was just one of those games which we didn’t convert into a win. Nevertheless it’s still early in the league and we have a long way to go.”

Pune made six changes for this Indian Super League (ISL) clash as Lenny Rodrigues, Israil Gurung and Ivan Bolado came back into the side while starts were handed to Davide Colomba and Pritam Kotal. Mehrajuddin Wadoo, John Goosens, Tapan Maity, Ashutosh Mehta  and Dharmarajan Ravanan made way and Arindam Bhattacharya replaced the injured Emanuele Belardi in goal.

For NorthEast United, Lo Sambau, Tomas Josl and James Keene were replaced by midfielder Koke, Do Dong-Hyun and Joan Capdevila respectively.

Once again, NothEast United started brightly away from home and created the first opportunity within the opening five minutes as Pune struggled to cope with their energy and tempo.

Koke split the defence with a delightful through ball that played Do Hyun-Dong into space on the right. The Korean drove inside but his shot was deflected behind for a corner by Anupam Sarkar.

The next attack also came down NorthEast’s right side. After good work from Koke and Hyun-Dong, the latter slid a ball into space for Aibor Khongjee whose cross fizzed dangerously past the crossbar in the 10th minute.

Pune City then began to find their way into the game with Kostas Katsouranis orchestrating proceedings. However, it was Israil Gurung’s shot from distance in the 13th minute that produced a good save from Rehenesh TP between the sticks.

The Indian custodian’s reputation has been notably enhanced so far in the tournament and he lived up to it again two minutes later. A through ball from midfield found the forward run of Katsouranis who was one-on-one with Rehenesh but the young goalkeeper rushed off his line to deny him brilliantly.

Katsouranis was involved again in the 21st minute as one of his runs was picked out again and he had acres of space on the left side of the penalty area. He crossed dangerously with the outside of his boot for David Trezeguet at the far post but Robin Gurung flung himself at the delivery to make a vital interception.

The visitors then looked to respond with their own attack two minutes later. Durga Boro was clean through on the left after being played onside by Sarkar but Arindam Bhattacharya was off his line in a flash to slide in and clear the danger.

The fleet footed Hyun-Dong was always a threat and wriggled away from a defender in the box in the 27th minute. The winger’s cross was interecepted and Boro was just a couple of feet away from latching on to the loose ball.

Two minutes later, Hyun-Dong passed to Zodingliana Ralte inside the box. The ball eventually fell for Joan Capdevila but the Spaniard’s shot was deflected over the bar.

Both sides produced glimpses of good play for the rest of the half but failed to find the final ball and the tie remained deadlocked at half-time.

The first attack in the second period came from Pune in the 54th minute as Israil Gurung ran down the right flank and his cross looked destined for Trezeguet but Rehenesh did well to punch it clear before it could reach the French striker.

The NorthEast United keeper was proving to be the scourge of Pune City as he denied them again in the 65th minute. John Goossens’ first touch took him around Miguel Garcia and the substitute fired at goal but Rehenesh dove to his right to make an unbelievable reflex save; a certain contender for save of the season.

The away side defended stubbornly as Pune pushed forward with the introductions of Goossens and Dudu giving them an edge in attack. With ten minutes to play, Gurung crossed to the far post where Goossens’ first time shot was blocked by Khongjee.

The in-form keeper though had no chance when the hosts made the breakthrough with just two minutes left on the clock. Dudu’s half-volley on the turn from the edge of the box evaded the diving Rehenesh and crashed off the cross bar only to fall kindly for Goossens to nod it back into an empty net.

Deep into injury time, a cross from the right flank created a goal-mouth melee in the Pune penalty box but Kondwane Mtonga’s eventual shot from close range was blocked in a crowd of players.

Pune’s manager Franco Colomba was sent off by referee Santosh Kumar in the dying seconds after an altercation with Milan Singh on the touchline as the Italian tried to delay proceedings.

NorthEast United came away with their pride intact despite having their defence breached cruelly in the dying moments. The Highlanders’ young brigade continue to deliver impressive performances on the road and remain third in the ISL standings.

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