|Raul Fabiani (second from left) being shown the red card,
at the Salt Lake Stadium, on Saturday. A Telegraph picture
Calcutta: Within a space of just 24 hours, Mohammedan Sporting were made to bite the dust.
On a high after their Durand Cup triumph, they were brought down to earth by Pune FC, who registered a solid 3-1 victory in the I-League opener, on Saturday, here, at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Spaniard Raul Fabiani scored a brace for Pune FC, with James Meyer being the other scorer. For Mohammedan Sporting, Joshimar took his team into the lead early on, only to follow up with squanders that helped the visitors return home with full points.
The hosts have only themselves to blame as the Joshimars and Tolgay Ozebes muffed up sitters throughout the game.
Pune FC, for their part, were reduced to 10-men as over-excitement led to marching orders for Raul — booked for the second time — in the 77th minute. They didn’t mind it much, though, as they were able to log full points, which counts.
Add to the disappointing start a hitch on Mohammedan Sporting’s organisational efficiency, which led to a delayed start. The kick-off took place 24 minutes after scheduled time because only one ambulance was present at the ground instead of the mandatory two.
The matter is likely to be mentioned in match commissioner Gulab Chauhan’s report to the AIFF. And Mohammedan Sporting have every possibility of being cautioned.
The start, however, was an ideal one for Abdul Aziz Moshood’s men. Joshimar earned them the lead in the 11th minute, getting Gagandeep Singh’s floater out of the advancing goalkeeper Amrinder Singh’s reach, before slotting it home. But the lead lasted only for a short while, as Raul equalised after Nikhil Kadam’s right-footer came off the near post.
Seven minutes after the halfway stage, Raul made some good ground through the left flank and squared to an unmarked Meyer, who had no trouble in finding the target.
A little later, Raul came up with his second strike that turned out to be the killer blow.