Pune: In football, the result is all matters. FC Pune City who was in the scintillating form needed a mere point from their outing against FC Goa to qualify for their maiden Indian Super League semi-finals.
On the other hand, with their backs against the wall, the Goan side had to forget their woes and win at Pune’s fortress. The visitors ‘perfectly executed’ coach’s plans and handed FC Pune City their worst defeat of the season, thrashing the Stallions 4-0 at the Balewadi Sports Complex on Sunday.
Heading into the second-half with a 1-0 lead, FC Goa were at their attacking best as they ruthlessly dismantled Pune’s defence to score thrice in 17 minutes, as the hosts forgot to bring their scoring boots to the game. But in the scheme of one cannot overlook the poor game the officials had.
Manuel Lanzarote had given Goa lead mid-way through the first half (28th minute) after converting a penalty. In the second half, before doubling their advantage in the 47th minute via Hugo Boumous, Goa had missed a couple of glorious chances including hitting a woodwork once.
ISL’s this year’s leading scorer Ferran Corominas then scored a sublime goal in the 58th minute before converting another penalty in the 65th minute to bag a brace while Pune’s skipper Marcelinho was sent off for the second bookable offence in the 80th minute.
The game started with a minute’s silence in memory of Bollywood actress Sridevi, the step-mother of FC Pune City’s co-owner Arjun Kapoor.
On the field, none of the team was able to force the issue in the opening stages before the game quickly became a busy day at the office for the officials. Hugo Boumous was the first player to have his name taken, as he kicked a ball at Marcelinho after bringing him down initially.
Missing the services of striker Emiliano Alfaro, the Stallions could not find their usual attacking game, while Goa was executing their plans to perfection, looking threatening on the counter.
In the 28th minute, on one such Goan attack, Adil Khan’s trailing leg caught the defender Boumous, as Manuel Lanzarote made no mistake from the spot after the penalty was awarded.
A couple of minutes later, referee had reached into his pocket again, booking Pune’s Diego Carlos and Goa’s Pronay Halder in space of a minute, before booking Marcelinho for dissent after the striker was fouled on edge of FC Goa box.
In the dying seconds of first half, Goa could have added another but was denied by superb Vishal Keith save, while Ahmed Jahouh became the fifth player to go into the book before the break, as the boos and chants of ‘Referee joker’ echoed the stadium, and for the first time, the audience was right in what they meant.
Pune remains on 29 points, with their last league game against Delhi Dynamos on March 2, while Goa keep their chances of last four alive as they move to 24 points with two games to go.