Gangtok, January 7, 2013
United Sikkim yet again in injury time conceded an easily avoidable goal to lose 1-2 against Pune FC in a heartbreaking match on January 5 here at Paljor Stadium. This is the sixth loss for the Snow Lions in 13 matches rooting them to unenviable 13th position of the I-League table.
The script remained similar to almost all the jinxed matches that United Sikkim had played at home. Good possession and bagful of chances were complimented with profligate strikers and defensive lapse in the final moments.
On the other hand, Pune FC, now in pole position of I-League, got four good opportunities and two of them were converted without a fuss.
Arata Izumi responded fast to a beautiful through ball from captain Douhou Pierre and calmly lobbed it over the onrushing United Sikkim goalkeeper Yoon Tae in the 23rd minute.
Towering striker James Moga, who was bravely denied by Tae earlier, made no mistake when handed a second opportunity in the 92nd minute after United Sikkim conceded a free kick at a dangerous moment and position.
Pierre whipped in a fierce cross which was glanced by Moga into the far end of United Sikkim net silencing the stadium and sending the local supporters into disbelief of ‘not again in injury time’.
Two minutes later, Pune FC players were inside their dressing room relishing their ascendency in I-League and United Sikkim players staring a daunting task of wriggling out of the relegation pit even though there are still 12 matches left to play.
A new striker is a top priority for United Sikkim during when the January transfer window opens.
That it took a player from Pune FC to let in the equalizing goal, awarded to Nima Tamang by the match officials, edifices the lack of fire power of the Snow Lions in front of the goal.
“A striker is a priority for us. We are looking to bring in a new striker in coming two weeks.
The reality is that we are not scoring even though we are creating a number of chances.
The players are getting in good positions but are unable to finish the chances.
The players need to more composed and be able to finish”, said United Sikkim head coach Nathan Hall.
Hall believed that Pune FC got ‘lucky’ in the dying moments of the match with the free kick.
“Today they (Pune FC) got lucky. We created a lot of chances in the second half. We were the only side which was trying to win the match and I feel extremely sorry for my players who worked really hard. If we play like this in matches (against middle and lower ranked teams) we will win”, said Hall.
Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira said that it was the inexperience of United Sikkim players that cost them the match. They fought well but was let down by their inexperience, he said.
Pereira also refused to be on congratulatory mood despite climbing top of theI-League with 28 points.
“There is still a long way to go and we intend to go ahead match by match. Players are showing the right attitude and wants to win every match”, he said.
With this loss, United Sikkim is under tremendous pressure to bring good results in the remaining matches as the Gangtok based club has collected only nine points. “We all know about it (pressure)and we are working hard.
That’s why today’s result was so disappointing. We need to find some way to score goals”, said Hall.
United Sikkim faces another top five ranked team, Mumbai FC on January 9.