Eugeneson Lyngdoh came off the bench to score a late goal and win the match for FC Pune City against Mumbai City FC in the Hero Indian Super League at Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai, on Thursday.
The Maharashtra derby appeared to be heading for a goalless draw till late in the game when Eugeneson capitalised on a goalkeeping lapse in the 89th minute to give the visitors a 1-0 victory and three important points.
The win was sweet revenge for Pune, who lost to their Maharashtra rivals in their opening clash at home, and now takes the Orange Army to the top four for the first time. Habas team now have 12 points, the same as Kerala Blasters after nine matches, but Pune will be ahead on better goal difference.
Mumbai City FC will be disappointed for not winning atleast a point. They were the better side and in the end got nothing. Mumbai City continue to be placed second with 15 points from 10 matches.
The match was the first for both sides after the return of players from Bengaluru FC, who made it to the AFC Cup final. Mumbai had four players and only India captain Sunil Chhetri made it to the starting eleven. Eugeneson was left on the bench by coach Antonio Habas.
Pune City maintained a very disciplined defence and gave little chances to Mumbai to open their account. Mumbai though had opportunities in the first session to score the opening goal but could not get past Pune goalkeeper Edel Bete.
The best chance of the half fell for Defederico in the 35th minute when marquee player Diego Forlan spotted his run and passed the ball to him but the Argentinean striker’s curling effort was parried away for a corner by the goalkeeper.
In the second half, Mumbai City had more chances, both from Forlan, but on both occasions Bete proved to be a hard nut to crack. First Forlan’s free-kick bounced awkwardly in front of Bete but he still managed to pull it away. Towards the later stages, Cafu made a run down the middle and released Forlan whose shot was kept out by the outstretched feet of Bete.
It was only in the closing stages that Pune had their first shot on goal when Jonatan Lucca drew out a regular save from Mumbai goalkeeper Albino Gomes.
Pune secured an unlikely win when Eugeneson scored the only goal in the 89th minute. Narayan Das crossed into the box and Albino came off the line, only to drop the ball after clashing with his own player. Lyngdoh was lurking around and slammed the ball into the back of the net.