Riding on two quick goals which came soon after the start, Pune FC handed out a 3-0 drubbing to host Chirag United Kerala in the I-League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Sunday evening.

The 22nd round victory helped Pune move to the third spot, with 40 points, in the 14-team league for the first time this season, just a step behind East Bengal which has a point more.

There was a touch of class in the Pune game. With playmaker Dhouhov Pierre doing a smart job, the team looked a settled combination, a professional side and its every move appeared to be planned.

Passes were short and neat and its wing play, with Shanmugham Venkatesh on the left and T. Karma on the right, was excellent while the back four did not allow the Chirag forwards the space and time to operate freely.

As a result, the home side was often forced to attempt goals in haste.

Pune's first goal came in the fourth minute, even before the host could settle down. Subash Singh sent a measured cross from the left to an unmarked Manjdou Keita in the centre and the Liberian scored with a diving header.

A grateful Keita fed Subash from the left two minutes later. Subash had to just tap it in and he completed the job neatly as the stunned home defence watched helplessly.

Japanese Arata Izumi made it 3-0 and Keita had a hand in this goal too. With the defenders crowding around him inside the box, Keita pulled the ball back and Izumi rushed in and sent it home.

For Chirag, Vignesh came up with some lovely crosses from the right but Vineeth, who scored two goals in the host's stunning victory over Shillong Lajong a few days ago, was not lucky on Sunday evening.

He hit the crosspiece in the 75th minute and a couple of minutes later, his attempt found the left post and moved away.

Keita was adjudged as the man of the match.

Chirag, which has two tough away matches against Churchill Brothers and Salgaocar coming up next, stays in 11th spot with 17 points from 21 games.

The result: Pune FC 3 (Subash Singh 4th, 6th, Arata Izumi 39th) bt Chirag United Kerala 0.

Keywords: I-League

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