FULL-TIME: FC Pune City 2-1 Mumbai City FC
FC Pune City: 18′ Adil Khan (Assist: Robin Singh); 84′ Iain Hume (Assist: M. Yasir).
Mumbai City FC: 92′ Arnold Issoko (Penalty).
FC Pune City continued their late surge in form in the second half of the season with a win over third-placed Mumbai City FC at the Balewadi.
Tonight’s match was the last league fixture for both the sides. Pune City started the game without their talismann Marcelinho and Ashique Kuruniyan while Mumbai were without the league’s second highest goal scorer Modou Sougou.
As expected, Mumbai City FC started the game well and were all over Pune City in the initial period. In the eighth minute, Mumbai’s Portugese midfielder Paulo Machado had his free kick from a few yards outside the box hit the junction between the bar and the post and come back.
For all that advantage Mumbai had in the opening minutes, Pune City ended up getting themselves a goal in the 18th minute. Robin Singh played on a lobbed pass into the path of Adil Khan who made a run behind the defenders and into the box. The Goan midfielder smashed the ball with an acrobatic volleyed effort to put the Stallions in the lead.
The second half resumed with Mumbai making concerted efforts to get back in the game. The Islanders pushed forward, but they lacked quality with the final ball tonight. Whenever they managed to get a shot on target, the Pune custodian Kamaljit Singh was upto the task and kept them out.
Arnold Issoko had a great chance to level the scores in the 59th minute, but he managed to sky it from 10 yards out. Mumbai were left to rue this miss among others as they conceded a second in the 84th minute. Iain Hume scored with a first time shot with his left foot after Mohammad Yasir pulled a ball back into the centre of the box.
Mumbai City FC did manage to pull a goal back after an innocuous penalty was awarded to them in second half stoppage time. Issoko converted the penalty, but there was very little time to mount a comeback as the game ended in a defeat for the Islanders.
Mumbai City will now await the play-off semifinals where they will go up against FC Goa. The home fixture will be played this coming Saturday and the away fixture is scheduled for Tuesday, 12th March.
As Pune City reach the end of their current league campaign, they face an uncertain future going into next season due to financial difficulties. There is talk of the club being disbanded or the franchise itself moving to another city.