Army Red produced a commanding display to defeat Pune FC 2-0 in the opening match of the 126th Durand Cup at the Ambedkar Stadium.

This victory puts the army men on the brink of qualifying for the semifinals from its three-team group. Army Red plays ONGC in its final group fixture on September 11.

On a balmy Monday evening, the army side was sharper and better organised. It was perhaps a result of Army Red’s recent success at the inter-Services tournament.

Pune was regularly pushed deep into its own half by the opposition, and it failed to respond by counter-attacking incisively.

Hesitancy in the defence led to both goals.

The first arrived eight minutes before the interval when Pune’s custodian Shahin Lal Meloli unnecessary felled Lallidianmawaya in the box, and T.V. Vipin sent the former the wrong way from the spot.

Army Red lost many opportunities to extend the lead thereafter, but three minutes from time,

Lallidianmawaya burst away from the defence to find space and finished past the onrushing ’keeper.

The result: Army Red 2 (T.V. Vipin 37-pen, Lallidianmawaya 87) bt Pune FC 0. — Sports Reporter

  • Army Red’s goals came off a penalty from Vipin, and from Lallidianmawaya

  • Pune had fielded a second-string team, with most regulars preparing for the season ahead

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