Khan strikes as FC Pune defeat Jamshedpur FC 1-0
Jamshedpur: FC Pune City ended Jamshedpur's run of four straight cleansheets with a hard-fought 1-0 win on Sunday evening at JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur.
29-year-old defender Adil Khan, who was deployed in midfield, came up with the match winner in the first half and held off Steve Coppell's side despite playing the final 10 minutes with a man short.
Steve Coppell started with the same side that won their previous game against Delhi Dynamos. Izu Azuka led the lines for them while Siddharth Singh and Bikash Jairu continued on the wings. Mehtab Hossain and Memo formed the midfield pair while Tiri and Andre BIkey marshalled the defence.
FC Pune City coach Ranko Popovic also did not spring any major surprises with his team selection. Emiliano Alfaro, Marcelinho and Diego Carlos formed their attacking trident while Rafa Lopez led the defence with Adil Khan and Marcos Tebar providing solidity in midfield.
Although FC Pune City did threaten in the early minutes with a Marcelinho freekick almost made a meal of by Subrata Paul, it was Jamshedpur who had the first proper sight on goal when Izu Azuka executed a neat stepover to get clear of his marker and surged into the box in the 10th minute. However, the forward could only slice his shot into the side netting. Five minutes later, Memo forced Vishal Kaith in Pune goal into a save when he struck a poor clearance from Chhuantea on target. The game soon descended into a cagey affair, with neither team giving away much.
Just before the halfway mark, Emiliano Alfaro and Izu Azuka were booked after the two strikers were involved in a scuffle during a Jamshedpur corner. Soon after that, Pune City drew first blood when Mehtab gave away a silly foul on the edge of the left side of the area. Marcelinho whipped a good delivery in, which was flicked away to the far post by a Jamshedpur player. But it fell kindly to Adil Khan who volleyed a first-time shot under a scrambling Subrata Paul.
A stung Jamshedpur FC tried to orchestrate attacks through their wings, with Bikash Jairu a main outlet but his deliveries let him down. However, there was some drama right at the end of the first half when Azuka headed in Ghosh's cross from the left wing after an extended period of pressure. But their joy was shortlived as the linesman raised his offside flag, having spotted that Azuka had strayed in from an offside position.
The second half started with Pune City fashioning a couple of half-chances. Diego Carlos saw a grounded cross go untouched across the box before Marcelinho outfoxed Ghosh before shooting wide across goal.