Chennai, Feb 3 (IANS) FC Pune City recorded a hat-trick of victories in the Indian Super League (ISL) after inflicting a 2-1 defeat on Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here on Saturday.
After a goal-less first half, C.K. Vineeth handed the home side the lead with an opportunistic strike in the 55th minute. For a while it looked like Chennaiyin would break their home winning duck this season, but a quick-fire double from Marcelinho (59′, 60′) handed Pune all three points as new manager Phil Brown tasted victory in his first match in charge.
The win sees Pune inch to within three points of sixth-placed ATK, while Chennaiyin’s misery at the bottom of the table continued.
John Gregory took a bold step when he fielded just three foreign players in his starting line-up. On the other hand, Phil Brown started with Iain Hume and Marcelinho in attack being ably supported by Ashique Kuruniyan, Diego Carlos and Robin Singh.
Pune should have taken the lead in the first minute when Hume did well in finding Robin inside the box but the latter could not sort his feet out with only the keeper to beat.
The visitors saw more of the ball but just could not get behind the Chennaiyin defence.
The next chance fell for the home side when Anirudh Thapa floated a cross which saw goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh come off his line and clatter into C.K. Vineeth. The ball fell for Halicharan Narzary who blasted the effort over.
After a goal-less first session, it was Vineeth who broke the deadlock in the 55th minute as he drilled the ball home from inside the penalty box.
This was after some good work by Augusto and Nelson which eventually found Thapa whose shot took a deflection off Sahil Panwar and fell for Vineeth.
The lead, though, lasted for just four minutes as Marcelinho levelled the score with a left footed shot which lacked power but Karanjit fumbled and allowed the ball to sneak in.
The Brazilian scored his second of the evening in the next minute as he got at the end of a pass by Kuruniyan and slotted the ball into the far corner with the Chennaiyin defence at sixes and sevens.
Pune could have had a third goal had it not been for a brilliant save by Karanjit to deny Robin’s headed effort.
Chennaiyin did see a lot of possession and threw players forward in the hope of getting an equaliser.
They did come close when Nelson’s deflected effort went out off the crossbar but it was not to be and they remain winless in seven home matches.