A 10-man Pune FC blanked Shillong Lajong FC 2-0 to ensure the title in the final phase of the under-20 I-League football tournament at the Kalyani Stadium on Tuesday.
Pune FC scored its fourth consecutive win, tallying 12 full points to reach an invincible position at the top of the league standings with a round to go. Mumbai FC thrashed Dempo SC 7-1 in another encounter held on the same day.
With Mumbai FC in second position with nine points from four matches and no other team having requisite points to challenge the top place, Pune FC remains the sole claimant for the title.
The scenario would remain unchanged irrespective of the results in the last round where Pune plays Prayag United SC, while Mumbai takes on Churchill Brothers. A possible loss for Pune and a win for Mumbai will see the two teams tying on points at the top.
But with head-to-head statistic used a determinant to break a tie, Pune FC will retain the top spot having beaten Mumbai 4-0 in their previous engagement.
Pune FC earned its fourth win in as many matches with goals from M. Suji Kumar (23rd) and William Lalnenfula (41st), who scored in the first-half of the encounter. Pune held on to the margin despite getting reduced to 10 men in the 64th minute when Lalrinawma Rinte was ejected following his second booking of the match.
Hat-trick by Jayesh
Jayesh Rane scored four goals including a hat-trick to help Mumbai FC demolish Dempo. Runak Kniger, Reed Santos and Chetan Tandel scored once each to complete the scoring process. Shallum Pires scored the only reply for Dempo. Unlike their seniors, who have won the I-League, the Dempo youth side has put up a scrappy performance, losing three while winning just one match.
The results: Pune FC 2 (M. Suji Kumar 23, William Lalnenfula 41) bt Lajong FC 0); Mumbai FC 7 (Jayesh Rane 10, 29, 75, 94, Runak Kniger 6, Reed Santos 35, Chetan Tandel 38) bt Dempo SC 1 (Shallum Pires 26).