Pune: Pune FC hosted Shillong Lajong FC in their first home game of this season. The Shree Shivchhatrapati sports complex was all set for an exciting encounter. A dominant performance by the home side saw them pump in 5 goals against the visitors in the first half itself. Pune FC striker Haokip Thongkhosiem scored the first hat-trick of I-League 2015 and it was also one of the fastest hat-tricks in I-League history as it came in just 15 minutes. New signings Sueoka Ryuji and Darko Nikac also added to the Pune FC tally with a goal each. For the visitors, forwards Durga Boro and Cornell Glen scored one goal apiece. The final score read 5-2 in favour of Pune FC, the home side.
Haokip leads the charge for Pune FC through lighting-fast hat-trick
Right from the first touch on the ball, Pune FC were in control of the game and were creating opportunities in the early minutes of the game. The Shillong Lajong defence line, despite having the experienced Robin Gurung and skipper Aiborlang Khongjee, could not stop Pune FC ‘s attackers. The first goal came in the 5th minute itself when Haokip Thongkhosiem stole the ball from the Shillong defenders and placed a right footed grounder into the goal, beating Rehenesh TP, the goalie.
The second goal was scored in the 13th minute when another new signing Edgar Marcelino put in a near cross from the left. Haokip was quick enough to get to the ball in time and deflect it into the bottom right corner of the goal. Haokip scored his third goal for Pune FC and completed his hat-trick just two minutes later. Marcelino sent Sueoka Ryuji through but his attempt was blocked by Rehenesh. Haokip’s powerful rebound was deflected by a defender’s head into the goal.
Durga Boro scores a screamer, Darko and Ryuji add more goals for Pune FC
Already three goals down, Shillong Lajong could not do much to pull things back. But the best goal of the match came in the 36th minute from Shillong forward Durga Boro. The Pune FC defenders failed to clear a long ball and Durga powerfully drilled the ball into the top left corner of the goal from 35 yards. Eight minutes later, Pune FC ‘s Matthew Gonsalves floated in a deep cross from the left which was headed into the 6-yard box by Darko Nikac. Sueoka Ryuji slid the ball past the goal to put the hosts 4-1 up. In the very next minute, Dario made a brilliant solo run where he single-handedly cut past 3 defenders and took a powerful grounded shot to send the ball between Rehenesh TP’s legs. At half time, Pune FC were leading 5-1.
Cornell Glen pulls one back for Shillong in dull second half
In the second half, Shillong Lajong looked to be the better side as they were organised and were maintaining possession of the ball. But the game had already slipped off their hands and the players lacked the intent of scoring more goals. However in the 75th minute, a beautiful through ball from Shillong’s new recruit Penn Orji was picked up well by Glen. He made room for himself and scored a ground shot from the right. At full time the score read Pune FC 5-2 Shillong Lajong FC. With 7 points, Pune FC are 2nd on the points table. Pune FC will be playing against Mumbai FC in the highly anticipated Maharashtra Derby on February 1.
“Poor performance today. Conceding five goals in the first half is not at all acceptable and all credit to Pune FC for coming out so strong. During the half time, I just told the players to make the midfield strong and maintain possession because most goals were scored because of the fragility in the midfield. Will expect a better show from my players in the next game.”- Thangboi Singto, coach(Shillong Lajong)
” Satisfied with the way Pune FC has played today. The goal difference is also great. Could have scored more goals but I would not complain after getting five. The players were tactically disciplined and they should keep playing like this. Haokip is a special talent and is growing into a very fine attacker. He needs to work on his finishing. Darko and Edgar combined very well and I was impressed by their combination. Each and every player is important for my team.”- Karim Bencherifa, coach (Pune FC)