FC Pune City resurrected their chances in the Hero Indian Super League with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Atletico de Kolkata at Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium, Balewadi-Pune, on Sunday.
Goals from Eduardo Ferreira (41st minute) and Anibal Rodriguez (penalty, 56th minute) were enough for Pune City to score their first home win of the season and jump two places to sixth on the table. Iain Hume had kept Atletico de Kolkata in the game after converting a penalty in the 69th minute but Pune held on for an important win.
Pune City were at the bottom of the table with six points prior to this clash but are now placed sixth, above Kerala Blasters (9 points) and FC Goa (7 points). The win was also important for Pune City coach Antonio Habas who was up against his former club. After two successful seasons with Atletico de Kolkata, Habas had switched to Pune City and was under-pressure to deliver for his new employers. Pune City took the field determined to script a positive result and end a wretched run of form that saw them win just one match in the first phase. The Pune City players stuck to a plan but it were Atletico de Kolkata who had the first chance of the match.
It was all created by Atletico de Kolkata marquee Helder Postiga in the eighth minute when the Pune defence was retreating. The former Portugal striker took advantage of the space available for him and took a powerful shot which was not too far away from the top left corner. After much probing, Pune City took the lead in the 41st minute through Ferreira. Just a few minutes earlier, the Brazilian needed medical attention after clashing with Postiga. He had a cut across his face but continued bravely and headed home Jonatan Lucca’s corner to give his team the lead.
Pune City made it 2-0 in the second session after the referee adjudged Pritam Kotal to have handled Tato’s cross inside the danger zone. Pritam protested, along with several other ATK players but the referee stuck to his decision. Anibal Rodriguez stepped up to take the spot-kick and converted even though ATK goalkeeper Debjit Majumder had managed to get his hand to the ball. The visitors were thrown a lifeline in the 68th minute when Postiga won a penalty, having being brought down by his Pune counterpart Mohammed Sissoko. Hume’s penalty was initially saved by Edel Bete but could do nothing to stop the rebound.
For the rest of the match, Pune City held on to their lead to pocket an important win which is also their first home win of the season. Anibal Rodriguez was named as the hero of the match. ATK remained third on the table despite the loss with 12 points from 8 outings while FC Goa once again dropped to the last position on the points table.