Pune, Jan 29: Striker Thongkhosiem Haokip scored the first hat-trick of the 2014-15 I-League as Pune FC trampled Shillong Lajong 5-2 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex here Thursday.
Japansese midfielder Ryuji Sueoka and Montenegrin striker Darko Nikac scored the other two goals for the home side while Durga Boro and Trinidadian forward Cornell Glen reduced the deficit for Lajong.
The hosts surged into the lead as early as the second minute of the game, when a terrible back-pass from a Lajong defender found Haokip who kept his composure in a one-on-one situation with the goalie and slotted the ball past him to score his first of the night.
A few minutes later Lajong could have drawn level, but Glen's shot hit the woodwork, much to the relief of Pune.
Haokip was at it again in the 12 minute, when he found himself at the end of a floating cross in the Lajong box and the striker out-jumped the defenders to head the ball home.
Three minutes later Haokip clinched his hat-trick as his shot took a fortunate deflection of a defender and found the back of the net.
Shillong had a number of half-chances midway into the first half, but failed to take advantage of them. They finally scored in the 36th minute with a shot from the veteran Durga Boro whose screamer found the top corner of Pune's goal.
A minute before the half-time Sueoka added his name to the score-sheet as he latched on a pass from Nikac.
At the 45th minute mark Nikac once again found space and this time he did it all by himself as he danced past the defenders and placed the ball into the net through the legs of the Lajong custodian Rehenesh TP.
The teams went into the break with the hosts leading the scoreline 5-1.
Even after the breather, the hosts continued to enjoy the possession but failed to add to their goal tally.
Glen then pulled one back for the losers as he took advantage of a defensive lapse from Pune, and placed his right-footer perfectly into the net.
Pune held onto their three goal advantage till the final whistle to jump to the second spot on the league table while Shillong Lajong suffered their second defeat in three matches.