Not until Izumi Arata’s strike in the 48th minute could Pune FC stand up to their opponents. Despite being pedestrian in the first half, the I-League newcomers however lifted their game in the second only to finish on the wrong side of a 1-2 scoreline.
In Sunday’s IFA Shield match at Howrah Municipal Stadium, Nigerian Dbuisi Opara impressed for Air India, stifling the Pune FC defence with his sudden dashes and using his height in aerial balls. With the dependable Soccor Velho and Tapan Maity operating in the wings, there were many opportunities for striker.
He capitalised on one of those when Maity's perfectly floated centre from the left found him unmarked. Pune custodian N Balaji fumbled to gather Opara's header and the ensuing skirmish to clear the ball saw the ball roll over the goalline.
Md Sporting win
Mohammedan Sporting beat Shillong's Lajong FC 1-0 thanks to Dipendu Biswas's 14th-minute strike.