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Calum Angus saves Pune FC the blushes

Taking just a couple of steps,Angus proceeded to put his foot through the ball and produced a moment of magic.

Written by Chinmay Brahme | Pune |
October 20, 2013 2:24:53 am

In a game where the defending champions were playing the side placed second in the previous season,many would have expected the game to feature non-stop end-to-end action.

However,Pune FC as well as Churchill Brothers,seemed rather disinterested during the first half,hardly stringing any notable chances,instead content to knock the ball around in their own half,before mustering a hopeful ball up the pitch,hoping that one of their front-men would get lucky.

Pune FC’s only real chance in the first half came in the 13th minute. The impressive Dohou Pierre,playing in an attacking midfield role,wriggled away from two Churchill defenders in the centre of the pitch,to dink a ball into the Churchill box,only for the on-rushing Izumi Arata,to toe-poke the ball over the cross-bar.

Churchill Brothers though,playing without their top strikers,used Balwant Singh up front with the Portuguese,Hugo Machado,playing just behind him. However,Machado was forced to drop deep into his own half in order to see the ball,which further curtailed his attacking drive.

With Pune FC’s target-man,the lanky Raul Fabiani,missing the game due to an abductor injury,coach Mike Snoei decided to stick with the hero of the last game,20-year-old Thongkhosiem Haokip in attack. Haokip,though,was a pale shadow of his industrious self from last week. He failed to hold up the ball for his midfielders,often attempting to shoot from distance,without mustering too much power and accuracy.

But with one foreigner missing out,another one seemed to step up to the plate to mask the largely incoherent display from Pune FC. With the first half passing without any notable chances on goal,the game’s only goal arrived in the 52nd minute. Pune FC won a free-kick 25-yards from goal. Up stepped Calum Angus,the burly defender from Portsmouth in England. Taking just a couple of steps,Angus proceeded to put his foot through the ball and produced a moment of magic. The ball,hit low and hard,rocketed past the wall and swerved away from Churchill Brothers custodian,Arindam Bhattacharya,who was at the far post,into the net.

Interestingly,after this match,out of Pune FC’s six goals in this I-League season,five have come off the boots of their foreign imports.

After the goal was scored,it was business as usual,as both teams looked reluctant to move forward with gusto. In the 74th minute,Nikhil Kadam was fed a high ball from the right into the Churchill Brothers penalty box. Kadam went for an almighty swing,but the ball bounced off his shin and fell for Haokip to tap into an open net with Bhattacharya,the keeper,stranded on the side. Inexplicably,the off-color striker placed his side-footer right next to the far-post.

In the last ten minutes,Churchill Brothers coach,Mariano Dias,made a couple of substitutions,hoping for a goal as his team reluctantly pushed forward.

However,with no one other than Lenny Rodrigues pulling the strings from midfield,the Churchill Brothers forwards,Hugo Machado and Ahmad Al Kaddour,though briefly,seemed to be starved for service. The biggest chance for Churchill arrived in the 85th minute,when Al Kaddour,found space on the left of the Pune FC box. The Syrian attacker,dodged the static Anas Edathodika,and fired a low drive which the sprawling Pune FC keeper,Amrinder Singh did well to parry and then scrambled across to smother the ball.

However,after a scratchy display,Pune FC seemed satisfied to walk off with three points,their third win from four games,putting them third in the table with 10 points.

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