Marcelinho, a goal-getter of exceptional ability, enhanced his reputation with a stunning long-ranger as FC Pune City defeated FC Goa 2-0 in an Indian Super League tie at the Balewadi stadium.
The 2016 golden boot winner scored against the run of play when he bulged the net with a left-footed shot on the run; the ball floated and swirled into the left post. Goa, chasing the equaliser, gave away the second after a reckless foul in the penalty area by Mohamed Ali on Marko Stankovic, who converted coolly from the spot to seal the win in added time.
With a mere two goals from nine appearances this season, Marcelinho stepped up to prove his worth, piloting his team to its second win in as many matches. Goa, which saw two attempts crash into the post, remains in fourth place. The Gaurs now have two defeats and a draw from its last three matches.
Cagey first half
Goa got a first clear look at goal in the 22nd minute, after Eduardo Bedia linked up with Brandon Fernandes with a sweeping pass on the left. The latter moved close for a shot, only to find goalkeeper Kamaljit second-guessing him and blocking the shot by narrowing the angle.
Four minutes from the break, Pune City's defence was stretched by Lenny's run down the flank, as he relayed the ball to Ferran Corominas, who set up Bedia for a left-footed scooped attempt which hit the crossbar.
Kamaljit Singh frustrated the visitors with excellent anticipation and reflexes under the bar. Fouls dominated the first half before both sides got down to the business of creating chances in the second period.
FCPC forwards were on the move, keeping Mohammad Nawaz on his toes. In the 63rd minute, Robin Singh nodded the ball down for fellow striker Iain Hume, who danced past legs to get into scoring position but his left-footed try was mistimed and the ball rolled wide. Kamaljit produced a tumbling, overhead save at full stretch to tip over an attempt from Ahmed Jahouh with twenty minutes left on the clock.
Moments later, a defensive mistake at the back presented Marcelinho with a chance to sweep home, only for Nawaz to deny the Brazilian with a reflex save. At the other end, Goa skipper Mandar Desai was unlucky to see his shot crashing into the upright.
Tackles were employed by both teams to put pressure on the player with the ball. The end-to-end action in the second half kept the fans entertained.
FCPC had managed to break up Goa's rhythm by rushing into tackles at the first opportunity, especially in the middle. Jahouh earned the first yellow for a lethal right-footed tackle to halt Robin on the move. Hume received the second yellow of the match for dashing into Hugo Boummos.