Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) defeated FC Pune City 4-1 and became the first team to book their spot in the semi finals of the Indian Super League (ISL).
However the scoreline does flatter the top-placed ISL side a bit, as FC Pune City where just unlucky to not to score more goal. The side from Pune hit the woodwork twice, and had one shot cleared off the line. Atletico went off into the lead quite early on, as Arata Izumi latched on to a through ball from midfield and crossed to Iain Hume, who just had to tap it into an empty net.
There was some controversy with the goal, as the ball seemed to be have been originally played towards Hume, who was offside. The Canadian however, let the ball roll on without touching it, as Arata (who was not offside) ran on to the ball and crossed to Hume. By the time Arata played in the cross, Hume had gone back to an onside position. Pune manager David Platt might have felt a bit hard done by, but the referee could have interpreted that as Hume ‘not interfering’ with play when the first through ball was played.
FC Pune City knocked hard on the ATK attacking third, but the Kolkata defenders Arnab Mondal and Tiri stood firm at the heart of the defence, constantly thwarting the visitors’ attempts. Even goalkeeper Amrinder did brilliantly to keep out a brilliant freekick by Romanian striker Adrian Mutu.
However, the home team turned up the heat in the second half, as Iain Hume smashed a brilliant airborne scissors-volley into the bulging FC Pune City net. The Canadian striker got his hattrick in the last 10 minutes of the match, as ATK winger Sameehg Doutie got in behind the defense on the right flank, and crossed it into the box. Hume did brilliantly to get to the end of the low cross and tap it into the net.
At the other end, FC Pune City striker Adrian Mutu managed to get one back for his side after some really good footwork, to open-up a sturdy ATK defence. FC Pune City were putting a lot of pressure on the hosts at this stage, and looked like they would be able to get a second goal back. Throwing everyone on the attack seems to have backfired for the Stallions in the end, as ATK’ s Serbian striker Dejan Lekic latched on to a clearance and ran the length of the FC Pune City half, to hammer in a left footer into the bottom corner.
This win extends ATK’s lead at the top of the table to four points now, as they become the first team to qualify for the semi finals stage of the tournament, with one match to go.
“We knew it would be tough, but we soaked up the pressure [and took the chances],” said Hume at the post match presentation.
On being asked whether he thought anyone could stop the ATK attack, Hume said, “We’re not unstoppable, but we just don’t give up. We’re enjoying our football.
It’s a different story for FC Pune City however, as they are now two points off the top four spots, with just two games to go. They would certainly be hoping that Delhi Dynamos FC defeat fourth-place North East United FC in Saturday’s match.
“I’ll have to see it, I dont know,” said FC Pune City manager David Platt. “As far as I’m concerned we had four opportunities and when its not going for you its tough [it becomes difficult]. The opportunities we had it did not warrant a 4-1 defeat.”
Image Courtesy: ISL Media Team .