FC Pune City's winning run came to a halt on Sunday as Chennaiyin FC defeated them at the Belwadi Stadium when centre-half Henrique Sereno clinched the winner in the 82nd minute to put them ahead 1-0. The hosts tried to get back into the game with numerous attacks but fell short to a stern defence.
After a cagey opening 15 minutes, Pune took control but couldn't create any clear-cut goal scoring chances. Some of their best chances of the half came from set plays. Marcos Tebar's free-kick in the 19th minute was headed down by a Pune player to Alfaro, who in turn passed in on to Rafael Lopez. But the Spanish defender's side-footed shot went inches wide of the Chennaiyin goal.
Chennaiyin FC's best chance of the first half fell to Gregory Nelson in the 40th minute. After stringing together a few passes in midfield, Inigo Calderon sent in a delightful cross into the box for Nelson to meet. The Dutchman's diving header, however, was cleared well off the line by Rafael.
Both sides started the second half much like the first -- unable to create chances going forward. In the 60th minute, Pune goalkeeper Vishal Kaith almost gifted a goal to John Gregory's side. The goalkeeper came out of his box to collect a harmless-looking cross from Jerry Lalrinzuala but could only palm it in the path of midfielder Francisco Fernandes. Rafael, however, was again in the right place at the right time to make another goal-line clearance.
At the other end, Alfaro should have given Pune the lead in the 77th minute. After finding himself clear on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat, the Uruguayan slashed the ball over the crossbar.
It looked like both sides would settle for a point each but there was a twist in the tale. With just eight minutes left for the final whistle, Sereno gave Chennaiyin FC the lead. The defender rose above everyone to thump Gavilan Martinez's corner past the FC Pune City goalkeeper.