Pune FC kept their undefeated home record against Mumbai FC intact with a 3-2 win and claimed temporary leadership of the I-League 2012-13 standings on Thursday. Three more matches remain to get a clear picture after Round 2.
The home side was spearheaded by Japanese midfielder Daisuke Nishiguchi's all-round performance, which included scoring two goals and setting up the winner for Jeje Lalpekhklua at the Balewadi Sports Complex.
Daisuke (7th) opened the scoring and then netted Pune FC's equalizer in the 51st minute after Mumbai FC struck back through Evaws Quao (17th) and ND Opara (26th). Daisuke then set up Jeje (75th) in the clear to complete Pune FC's victory.
The win took Pune FC's points tally to six and leveled Pailan Arrows. However, a better goal scored tally gives Pune FC the edge.
With the game restricted to mid-field play for most of the early stage, Pune FC went ahead in the 7th minute.
Defender Chika Wali played a defense splitting through ball to Daisuke on the right. The Japanese timed his run well to round off the advancing Mumbai FC custodian to slide the ball into the net.
Ten minutes later, it was Mumbai who equalized against the run of play.
Quoa was first denied by Reds' keeper Shahinlal Meloly who brilliantly tipped over his shot from long range. On the succeeding corner, Quao headed in the corner by Nicholas Rodrigues.
Pune FC were made to pay for their scrappy defense as striker ND Opara put the Mumbaikars ahead. On back-to-back corners, the Pune FC defense failed to mark Opara at the far post as he digged his volley into the goal.
Pune FC went into the breather trailing 1-2.
The second half began with Pune FC surging forward looking for the equalizer. However, they weren't made to wait long as Daisuke equalised in the 51st minute to charge up the crowd.
Right-back Srikanth Ramu sent striker Jeje on a counter from the right. Jeje beat Mumbai FC defender Peter Costa before sliding the ball to Daisuke inside the box. The Japanese beat the Mumbai custodian Kunal Sawant to complete his brace.
Pune FC's persistence bore fruit when Jeje put Pune FC in the lead mid-way through the second period. The striker first dispossessed Costa, before passing the ball back to Daisuke. The Japanese went on a run to the right and slide the ball to striker. Jeje, on the top of the box, took a shot to the left of the keeper to put the Reds into driving seat.
Pune FC held on to their lead as Mumbai attackers failed to score deep into added time. Shahinlal saved a shot from Ashutosh Mehta on the goal-line. The rebound fell to Haroon Amiri whose shot hit the horizontal and the second rebound was hit over the bar from six-yards out by Abhishek Yadav.