A resurgent Prayag United SC halted the winning run of Pune FC, downing the latter with two second-half goals, in the 15th round of the I-League at Kalyani on Wednesday. Lalkamal Bhowmick and Nigerian Ranty Martins found the target to help the home side post its second successive win.
Pune, which had reached the top of the standings after victories in the previous six rounds, faltered against the resolve of the Kolkata opponent. Prayag, which earned a morale-boosting win against Dempo SC in the previous round at the same venue, regrouped well to avenge the 1-3 loss it suffered while visiting Pune in the first phase of the two-tier tournament.
Douhou Pierre came close to scoring twice, in the 21st and 38th minutes, but the Ivory Coast midfielder of Pune FC found both his attempts going wide of the Prayag goal. Pune had another opportunity after the break but the crosspiece came in the way of Sudanese striker James Moga’s 66th-minute attempt.
Prayag replied strongly with a series of attacks and found the goal in the 68th minute thanks to a brilliant finish from centre-half Bhowmick. Showing a good sense of opportunism, on receiving a loose clearance from the Pune defence, Bhowmick fired in a spectacular pile-driver from around 25 yards that beat the Pune goalkeeper Abhra Mondal all ends up.
The second goal came in the 85th minute when Dipak Mondal set up a nice cross, which was neatly collected and placed home by Ranty Martins.
The win helped Prayag improve its tally to 20 points from 14 matches, while Pune FC remains on 28 points from 13 outings.
At Kalyani: Prayag United SC 2 (Lalkamal Bhowmick 68, Ranty Martins 85) bt Pune FC 0.
At Mapusa: Churchill Brothers 3 (Henri Antchouet 60, 63; Gurung 65) bt Pailan Arrows 1 (Prathamesh Maulingkar 56).
At Gangtok: United Sikkim FC 2 (Nadong Bhutia 15, Lineker Machado 17) drew with Mumbai FC 2 (Yusif Yakubu 11, 90+4).