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Pune and Army Red notch up easy victories

sports Updated: Oct 29, 2010 23:15 IST
Tomojit Basu
Tomojit Basu
Hindustan Times
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Pune FC announced their arrival at the Durand Cup with a bang and coach Derrick Perreira must be delighted that his lone striker Edmar Figueira scored a thumping brace in their opening tie, against Indian Air Force (IAF) at the Ambedkar Stadium on Friday.

The 2-0 win would bode well for the new team ahead of the crucial tie against Chirag United.

"It was a good performance, but if we want to win the tournament, we have to improve a lot. It is a tough group and we cannot take anybody for granted," Perreira said.

Traffic was one way for most of the first half with Pune FC dominating possession. Former India skipper Shanmugam Venkatesh and K. Ajayan controlled proceedings in the midfield.

Attacking midfielder Izumi Arata threatened with crisp crosses and eventually, one found Figueira who expertly sidestepped and struck home.

Arata and Edmar combined well to probe the IAF defence consistently after the break but goalkeeper MK Jena did well to thwart them. Pune used the width of the pitch well particularly Arata.

Pune's second goal was set up by Ajayan. A lob to Arata on the left flank resulted in Ajayan putting it into the box for Asim Hassan, who couldn't quite time his shot. However, the ball reached Figuera, who thumped it beyond Jena with his left foot.

"I'm playing one forward as Keita (Mandjou) is sorting out his visa issues back home. I tried the 4-2-3-1 today and it worked well despite the team not having played after the Federation Cup."

In Friday's earlier game, Army Red demolished MEG Bangalore. MEG midfielder Vineet, scored an own goal to allow Red a 17th minute lead. Antony Romesh, who scored off a pass headed his way by Seikhohau Tuboi in the 76th minute and Gordon Channa effectively knocked the Bangalore team out of the tournament.