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Pune dashes Viva's hopes

Principal Correspondent



Viva Kerala's U. Jimshad, who scored against Pune FC, was named Man-of-the-Match.

KANNUR: In the dying seconds of its match against Pune FC on Sunday, died Viva Kerala's hopes of a maiden win in the I-League.

Well into the last minute of the injury time, the host was ahead by a goal, until Sunil Kumar came up with a fine header to stun the Municipal Jawahar Stadium, making it 1-1. U. Jimshad had scored for Viva in the 72nd minute; he was later named Man-of-the-Match.

It was Viva which looked more organised and purposeful and it created more opportunities to score too. But some stout defending by Pune and inadequate finishing skills by the Viva strikers had been threatening to produce a goalless encounter.

Jimshad it was who brought the goodly holiday crowd alive, with his neat header. Sherin Sam's throw-in had caught the Pune defence off guard and a gentle flick by Viva's hard-working T. Karma found the waiting head of Jimshad, who was right on target, raising hopes of a much-needed win for the home team.

With O.K. Javed, who replaced an injured Felix Chimaokwu towards the end of the opening half, making a couple of menacing runs down the right, and with C.S. Sabeeth waiting for him near the box, Viva threatened to increase the lead and put the game right beyond the visiting side.

But Pune struck back, through that Sunil Kumar header, off a well-taken free-kick by Gujinder Kumar.

Compared to the flop show in its opening match against Salgaocar SC last week at this venue, Viva seems to have ironed out some of its flaws, notably in the defence, but it definitely has to play a lot better as the league gathers momentum.

As for Pune, its frontline didn't seem to have enough ammunition, justifying the concerns coach Derrick Periera voiced on the eve of the match.

Pune and Viva both are on two points from three games each.

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