FC Pune City ended its Indian Super League campaign on a winning note as it registered a 2-1 win over Mumbai City FC at the Balewadi Stadium here on Saturday.
Pitted against an experimental squad fielded by Mumbai City, which is already through to the play-offs, the victory takes Pune City to the sixth spot. Mumbai City remains third and will face FC Goa in the playoffs.
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Both teams had lined up before kick-off to applaud Wing Commander Abhinandan for his courage under fire across the border and young fans in the stands responded with a salute as the IAF pilot’s image appeared on the giant screen.
The home side opened the scoring through an astonishing Adil Khan volley in the 18th minute. Robin Singh chipped the ball over the defence for Adil in the box and the burly defender struck a fine aerial volley to put his side ahead.
The travelling Mumbai fans did their best to spur their team on with chants and drumbeats. Paulo Machado’s curling direct free-kick gave them a chance to roar in delight, but the Portuguese's strike thundered off the crossbar.
Arnold Issoko was a constant threat for the Pune defence and made numerous solo runs, becoming the target man for the home team defence. Matt Mills picked up a yellow card for tripping the bustling Congo striker.
Iain Hume doubled the home side's lead with six minutes to go, but Issoko scored from the spot to peg one back for Mumbai in added time.