Barreto Farewell, Mohun Bagan
Mohun Bagan leapfrogged Pune FC into third place, as they beat the Red Lizards 2-0 in an I-League encounter at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, a match in which Jose Barreto scored, in what was his final appearance for the Mariners.
Salt Lake Stadium was painted Green and Maroon for Barreto and in a fine gesture, the fans were allowed in without tickets with the VIP enclosure being the only exception.
Pune FC were the better team in the 90 minute encounter inspite of the lopsided scoreline which suggested otherwise. However it was the man of the moment, who gave his team the lead in the 6th minute with a brilliantly placed shot past a lunging Subrata Paul and Odafa Okolie, to whom Barreto passed on the baton, repaid the faith put in him by sealing the game by scoring a screamer of a goal in the 89th minute.
The match began with a bang and it was no one else but Jose Ramirez Barreto who scored his 101th I-League goal and his last for the Mariners in stunning fashion in the 6th minute of the match itself. He latched onto a beautiful Hudson Lima through ball, and even though trailed all the way by a Pune defender, he placed a beautiful shot to the right of the diving Subrata Paul, running in from the left flank. It was perfectly placed putting the Mariners a goal up in no time.
Although Pune FC then seized control of the midfield, snapshots from outside the box from Lester Fernandes and Douhou Pierre were all that they could show. It was the Brazillian combination again in the 18th minute as Barreto laid on a fine ball for Hudson Lima, but he wasted too much time and Gurjinder Singh deflected it out for a corner.
The only clear cut chance for Pune FC came in the 33rd minute of the match, despite their numerous forays into the home team's box. Douhou Pierre's inch perfect cross from the right was headed straight to the grateful Sangram Mukherjee by Karma who was totally unmarked and had a free header.
The Red Lizards, who wore white today, continued where they left off in the first half after the break as they strung together a set of passes but the final shot was missing.
The home team however had a glorious chance to grab their second in the 55th minute. as Hudson Lima's cross into the box was misjudged by Subrata Paul and the ball fell to Barreto. Instead of going for the shot, the veteran Brazillian picked out Odafa Okolie but his shot was cleared off the line by Anas Edathodika.
Derrick Perreira's men continued their wave after wave of attacks but poor finishing combined with resolute defending meant that it was all long range efforts that did not trouble Sangram Mukherjee in goal.
It was in the 70th minute, after the introduction of Mandjou Keita that Pune FC had two clear cut chances to score. This was after Manish Maithani's effort was foiled on the other end by Subrata's heroics. The first chance for Keita was when Douhou crossed from the right which was saved by Sangram and the second a free header from Karma Tsewang's cross which Sangram somehow kept out after three attempts.