The Telegraph
Thursday , February 20 , 2014
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Md. Sp. get a reality check

Calcutta: It might appear a little too early to say Mohammedan Sporting’s bubble has burst. But that said, they must realise that the I-League is a completely different ball game. And the earlier they do so, better will it be for the team.

Sanjoy Sen’s men were expected to put in a much better performance, especially after their IFA Shield triumph. But they came up with yet another sloppy show, as Pune FC had no problems whatsoever in notching up a 2-0 win, at the Balewadi Sports Complex, in Pune, on Wednesday.

Thongkhosiem Haokip and Gabriel Fernandes scored on both halves as Pune FC recorded their first home win in more than three months. The hosts were up to the task right from the outset.

Haokip scored in the 43rd minute before Fernandes made doubled the lead in the 54th minute, bring about smiles in the face of coach Mike Snoei. The win in this round puts Pune FC on par with the second-placed Sporting Clube de Goa, as they too have 28 points from 16 matches. But the fact that Pune FC played a game more than the Goa outfit places them at No. 3 in the standings.

Mohammedan Sporting could have conceded early in the game if not for an alert Luciano Sabrosa, who thwarted the rivals with his timely clearances.

But then, the cracks in the Mohammedan Sporting defence started to open up and Pune FC eventually found the target when Haokip nodded home a lob from Mustapha Riga, who charged through the right flank.

Pune FC remained relentless even after change of ends. Nine minutes into the second session, Riga centred towards the left for Anthony. The latter set it up for Fernandes, who made no mistake to convert.

Mohammedan Sporting, as a result of this loss, remain second from bottom with only 13 points from 14 appearances so far.

Throughout the match, they had to play catch-up game with Pune FC, who were superior on all counts.

Mohammedan Sporting are perilously close to the drop zone at the moment. Nonetheless, with a cool head in Sen at the helm, the team can afford to bank on his sensibility and formulate the way to move upwards. It will be a tough ask, no doubt.