FC Pune City kick started their Hero ISL-2 campaign with an emphatic 3-1 victory over neighbours Mumbai City FC at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Monday. A brace from Turkish striker Tuncay Sanli and a brilliant goal from Israil Gurung rounded off the win for the home side at the Maharashtra derby, while Fred Piquionne scored the lone goal for the visitors.
First half: Sanli puts FC Pune City ahead, Piquionne equalizes
The first ten minutes of the match saw Mumbai City FC apply heavy pressure on their opponents, as they made inroads in the Pune defense through winger Ashutosh Mehta, and strikers Gabriel Fernandes and Fred Piquionne. The home team broke the shackles in the 12th minute, when Israil Gurung launched a brilliant counter-attack and floated in a cross from the right wing. An unmarked Tuncay Sanli waited at the far post and headed home the opener.
Mumbai City FC came back strongly after conceding the first goal, as they came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. The closest of them came in the 33rd minute when left winger Sony Norde’s shot came off the woodwork. Moments later, Ashutosh Mehta sent in a cross for Piquionne, who was open and perfectly placed at a scoring position. The Frenchman calmly headed the ball into the goal and the scores were level. The remainder of the first half did not produce any significant moments and the players went into the dugout with the game still hanging in the balance.
Pune surge ahead in 2nd half, Mutu, Anelka enter the turf
Home coach David Platt brought in Costa Rican Yendrick Ruiz in the 2nd half to add more firepower to the FC Pune City attack. The home side put themselves ahead in the game once again in the 56th minute when Sanli headed another Israil Gurung cross into the goal to complete a brace. He then made way for marquee man Adrian Mutu who came in as a substitute in the 61st minute. For Mumbai City FC, player-coach Nicolas Anelka also made his way onto the field in the latter part of the second half.
Israil Gurung was on top of his game and was very effective at the right wing, as his crosses were bang on target.
In the 68th minute, Gurung launched in another cross but this time, a wild swing saw the ball loop over Mumbai City FC’s goalkeeper and land inside the goal. This virtually put an end to the contest and as expected, FC Pune City walked away with a comprehensive 3-1 victory. Tuncay Sanli was adjudged the ‘Hero of the Match’ for his two goals, and the 33 year old found an able ally in Israil Gurung, who stole the show with two assists and a goal.
FC Pune City 3 (Tuncay Sanli 12′, 56′, Israil Gurung 68′) beat Mumbai City FC 1 (Fred Piquionne 34′)