Pune FC slumped to a 3-0 defeat to Dempo at the Balewadi Sports Complex in the final game of the season.
It was a curious sight to witness the veteran midfielder Shanmugham Venkatesh lead the side for this final fixture, possibly for the last time in Pune FC colours as the former Indian player has hinted at hanging up his boots in the near future.
And coach Mike Snoei had dropped the biggest hint so far about Venky’s future after the Kitchee game.
It was hinted that the midfield veteran could feature in the Dutchman’s coaching staff next season.
Seeing him lead the side over regular captains Dohou Pierre and Anas Edathodika suggested that the match held special significance.
Although, with all the emotions surrounding the match it did not follow the anticipated script.
And the visitors drew first blood as they broke the deadlock after a largely uneventful opening few exchanges.
Former Mumbai FC player Haroon Amiri, an all too familiar face for Pune FC nodded home the opener in the 20th minute of the match when he met a cross from the right by Holi Charan Nazary.
The Goan side resorted to hitting on the break as they threaded together perfect counter-attacking moves.
Hamiri, the famous Afghani import to Indian football, who terrorized Pune FC during his time with Mumbai FC, made his return to Balewadi all the more sweeter with a second goal.
After Dempo won a free-kick in the 26th minute down the right flank, Clifford Miranda’s floated ball was met by Amiri who directed the ball into the net.
Pune custodian Amrinder Singh was left rooted to his spot, as Amiri ran towards the Dempo dugout, kissing his badge, displaying his affection for the club he joined from Mumbai.
There was no love lost between Amiri and Pune FC.
The home side looked to be without answers to the all round game of the Afghani who also fulfilled his defensive duties with aplomb.
This was demonstrated when Amiri made a goal line intervention in the 41st minute that would make any defender proud.
The centre-back cleared Mirjan Pavlovic’s effort which had slipped from under the arms of keeper Colosimo and about to crawl into the net, only to be scooped away by Amiri.
There was more misery in store for Pune FC as they went down to ten men in the 56th minute of the match.
Left-back Gurjinder Kumar, already on a yellow card was booked when he attempted a dangerous tackle from behind on Alwyn George at the halfway line.
George was on his way in a counter-attack move when Pune’s left back made an ill-advised tackle to earn his marching orders.
Snoei sacrificed 35-year-old Venky whose contract ends this season for 17-year-old Fanai Lalrempuia after the red card, as Pune looked to salvage something out of a losing battle.
Former Pune FC player Jeje Lalpekhlua scored Dempo’s third in the 90th minute to complete Pune FC’s misery.