With FC Pune City gearing up for their opening Indian Super League match against Mumbai City FC on Monday evening, a banner reading vada pav and misal pav was unfurled at the Balewadi Sports Complex. They snatched the lead back in the 56th minute after Tuncay scored yet another header of a Gurung assist. Image credits: ISL official website.
Mehta, who played for Pune City a year ago, nearly set up the second goal in the 40th minute when he used his pace to collect a through ball on the right, escaped a sliding tackle and passed the ball to Juan Aguilera, who was waiting in the middle.
Mumbai looked like finding the equaliser in no time but they had to wait until the 34th minute when Ashutosh Mehta came up with a fine cross to Piquionne, who fired the ball into the net.
Pune played with more zeal in the second half.
In the 56th minute, Pune went ahead for the second time in the game by scoring in nearly the identical fashion as the first.
Haitian Sony Norde constantly threatened the Pune defence but wasted the best chance he got. Minutes later Mumbai City’s persistence paid off when Piquionne rose over the Pune defenders to headed the goal into the net in the 34 minute.
That attempt, somehow, summed up Mumbai’s game – setting up an attack wonderfully but lacking the final touch.
Looking at their signing spree and the overall balance of both the sides, one can say both sides expect to turn promise into performance.
The home side soon took the lead in the 12th minute after a lightning quick counter-attack culminated with Gurung’s pinpoint cross being met by Turkish worldwide Sanli at the far post to put the hosts 1-0 up. Mumbai upped the attack in a bid to get the equaliser. Nicolas Anelka dropped himself on the bench while missing the services of Indian skipper Sunil Chettri, who was out because of global duty. But in the second half, Pune, and Gurung in particular consistently exploited their weaker left wing to create chances. While a crowd of over 8000 had gathered in the tiny but picturesque stadium in the outskirts of Pune to see the marquee players in action, it was the diminutive Israil Gurung that added the spice to this Maharashtra derby.
Pune’s next clash is with NorthEast United FC at home on Friday while Mumbai face another tricky away contest against Kerala Blasters FC on Saturday.