FC Pune City captain Marcelinho scored his eighth goal of the Indian Super League season to seal a 2-0 victory over a misfiring Mumbai City FC for a valuable three points here at the Mumbai Football Arena. While Mumbai City's strikers squandered chances in front of goal, Marcelinho grabbed the slight chance which came his way - setting himself up with his terrific first touch and his nose for space.
Mumbai City vs Pune City - As it happened
Balwant Singh, Thiago Santos, Everton Santos did the hard work till the critical moment, before heading or shooting wide in anxiety. Midfielder Achille Emana found his way through the maze of legs and set his teammates up inside the opposition box, only to see them fall short when pulling the trigger.
FCPC defied waves of raids with assistance from an in-form goalkeeper Vishal Kaith to record a confidence-boosting ninth win in 15 matches. With the win, Pune retained its second position with 28 points.
Clad in an all-white uniform instead of the usual purple-and-yellow, the visiting side continued from where it left off in the previous game between these two sides. Marcelinho got to the end of a crisp pass from middle to the right, outpaced his marker and let fly, but the ball bulged the side netting. He had another go off a long pass from Adil Khan, this time a left-footed shot after a touch flew wide. Both times, Amrinder Singh moved quickly under the bar to cover the angle.
Amrinder, however, was beaten for the first time in the 18th minute by his own defender. The visitor got lucky when a cross into the goalmouth saw Diego Carlos leaping for a header. His mistimed header hit Raju Gaikwad before rolling into the bottom corner of the goal.
After the opening goal, FCPC defence had work to do as the home team came close to scoring thrice. Vishal did well to deal with a long-range volley from Sanju Pradhan with confidence. Emana set up Everton and an overlapping Gerson Viera with timely passes. The first effort went over while the second one rolled wide.
Emana then set up Balwant with a lofted pass from the left, who dived forward to connect with head, only to see the ball miss the target. Balwant expressed his frustration at the miss before Marcelinho struck the blow to register Mumbai's seventh loss of the season.