Gujarat Fortunegiants delivered a 44-20 chastening to Puneri Paltan in the opening game of the latter’s home leg at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Friday. Sukesh Hegde top-scored with a game-high 15 points.
Both sides pride themselves on defensive solidity and it told early on with most of the points for Pune as well as Gujarat coming through successful tackles. Gujarat looked as though they would inflict the first All-Out of the encounter in the 10th minute but a super tackle by Pune reduced the Zone A toppers’ lead to 6-5.
The Fortunegiants did eventually enforce the All-Out on Pune four minutes later to open up a 12-5 lead and stamp their authority on the contest. The visitors went on to give the Punekars only two more points during the remainder of the half and went into the break happier of the two sides having extended their lead to 17-7.
Gujarat began the second period in top gear by delivering a second All-Out to Pune after just four minutes. A successful Fazel Atrachali tackle followed by a four-point super raid by Hegde effected the All-Out and gave the Fortunegiants a 24-7 lead.
Pune were reeling by this stage as they struggled to find a weakness in what seemed like an airtight Gujarat defence. The Fortunegiants defence was on song throughout the match with Parvesh Bhainswal and Sunil Kumar – who bagged a High 5 – playing their part in helping their side’s formidable corner combination of Atrachali and Abozar Mighani.
The last quarter of the match saw Gujarat go about their business in efficient fashion, not allowing the hosts any sniff. They even inflicted a third All-Out on Pune in the 36th minute to cap off the victory in dominant style.
Check out our snapshots from this match here.