Pune FC suffered their second consecutive defeat, going down 0-2 to Mohun Bagan in an I-League match played at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex on Saturday.
A goal in each half from Mohun Bagan striker Jeje Lalpekhlua (5th minute) and winger Katsumi Yusa (76th) handed Pune FC their fifth loss of the season and third at home.
Having dropped points, Pune (23 points) stay fifth while Mohun Bagan (31) increased their lead at the top.
With this game, Pune FC ended their home campaign with four wins, three draws and three losses.
Pune FC coach Karim Bencherifa had made four changes for the match, handing starts to Srikanth Ramu, Darko Nikac, Edgar Marcelino and Dhanpal Ganesh.
The game began in frantic pace with both sides attacking the goal. However, Mohun Bagan capitalised on a defensive lapse and took the lead. Denson Devdas’ ball in from the left wasn’t cleared properly by the Pune FC backline and striker Jeje slotted home from close.
Having conceded early for the second game in a row, Pune FC began to press from the flanks but fell short in the final third. Meanwhile, at the other end, Jeje once again went close after getting into the clear but his grounder drifted wide.
Midway through the half, Pune FC went close when Srikanth earned a corner on the right. Lalrempuia Fanai’s flat ball towards the first post was sent over by Luciano Sabrosa.
Pune FC began to see more of the ball but were finding it hard to penetrate into the box. Defender Munmun Lugun sent in a couple of crosses from left but the Bagan backline managed to clear.
Pune FC made the first change in the final five minutes of the half as Bencherifa brought in striker Prakash Thorat in place of Ganesh to add more firepower up front.
In the final minute of the half, Pune FC had a close chance when Edgar was fouled by Sehnaj Singh outside the box. But Ryuji Sueoka failed to capitalise sending his effort on the set-piece over as the half ended with Pune FC trailing 0-1.
In the second half after a few chances at the either end, Pune FC went close (57th).
A deep free-kick floated in from the right flank by Edgar but was palmed away by Bagan keeper Debjit Majumder. Off the ensuing corner, Munmun went close but his effort from the left sailed just over.
Minutes later Bagan’s Sony Norde had a good low attempt from a free-kick just outside the box saved by goalkeeper Amrinder Singh to keep Pune FC in the game.
Meanwhile, it was Pune FC who let go of another chance (65th). Edgar curled in a low cross from the right on the edge of the box. Sueoka, who timed his run to perfection, managed to get a good touch but his half volley went way over.
As Pune FC put men upfront, the visitors capitalised and doubled their lead. Norde’s deep cross in from the left was headed home by Katsumi from close range leaving Amrinder no chance in the Pune FC goal.
Pune FC tried hard in the final quarter but fell short.