Image Courtesy a Indian Super League Media Team
The Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) juggernaut was brought to a grinding halt by FC Pune City, and it was the nimble-footed wingman from Manipur, Jackichand Singh, who turned out to be the hero for the Stallions, this time round.
Pune were at it, right from the kickoff, and Jackichand immediately found himself at the end of a deflected cross from the right wing. With the ATK defence caught napping, the 23-year-old ex[ertly volleyed the ball home, with a left-footed volley into the bottom corner.
Coming on the 80th second mark, this was the fastest goal yet, in the second season of the Indian Super League (ISL). The game was now completely turned on ita s head, as ATK mainly like to sit back, and catch their opponent off guard, on the counter attack. Now, however, the Kolkata-based side had to take charge of the game, and go looking for the goal.
This played into Punea s hands, as they proceeded to frustrate the ATK creative department, and create good chances of their own. ATK however, never looked like like scoring the equaliser, in spite of all the legwork put in by forward Iain Hume. The hosts were in complete control of the game, with 55 per cent possession, led by captain Tuncay Sanli, who also had a few clear-cut chances of getting his name on the scoresheet.
The ATK defenders had a difficult day, out on the field, but to their credit, they (especially goalkeeper Caalatayud). However the Kolkata outfit was lacking up front, and this was quite visible. In the end Jackichanda s thumping effort, on the second minute of the match, proved to be the difference between the two sides, as Pune handed ATK their first defeat of the season.
With this win, Pune now sits pretty, at the top of the ISL table, with nine points, followed by ATK on seven, with both the sides having played the same number of games (four). FC Goa, who have also played four matches, are hot on ATKa s trail, on the same number of number of points as the defending champions, but sre behind only by goal difference.
In spite of not being able to score a goal, Tuncay was handed the man of the match award, for being the focal point of the Pune attacks throughout the match.
He said, at the post-match presentation, a Today was a good result. Today was worked hard. They (ATK) are a good team. Just the three points (is all that matters), I dona t care about the name (of the other team). We will enjoy it.a
Pune coach David Platt also seemed to be quite pleased with his sidea s performance, on the night. He said, after the match, a Ia m not surprised because I knew that we could step up. We had 2 days of preparation, for the game. We were playing further forward up the pitch and tried and make them make the mistakes.a
Both Pune and ATK would be looking to come back completely rejuvinated for their next matches, respectively, as they both have a few days to prepare for them. While ATK has five days of rest, before they travel to Guwahati, to face North East United FC, Pune would have one extra day, to prepare for their crucial encounter against Chennaiyin FC, on the World Polio Day, exactly a week from now.