ATK shows great teamwork but falls short in front of Pune
6th November 2016
Venue: Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium, Balewadi, Pune
FC Pune City Starting XI: Apoula Edima Edel Bete(GK), Rahul Shankar Bheke, Augustine Melwyn Fernandes, Dramane Traore, Eduardo Ferreira, Jonatan Lucca, Anibal Zurdo Rodriguez, Gouramangi Singh Moirangthem, Mohamed Sissoko(C), Lenny Rodrigues, Narayan Das.
ATK Starting XI: Debjit Majumder(GK), Henrique Fonseca Sereno, Arnab Mondal, Iain Hume, Helder Postiga, Borja Fernandez(C), Sameehg Doutie, Pritam Kotal, Robert Lalthlamuana, Lalrindika Ralte, Stephen Paul Pearson.
ATK came back into action after a fantastic away win against Northeast United and a complete week of training, to take on FC Pune City, who were looking forward to their first home win of ISL 2016. A classic encounter between the East and West has always been one to be savoured by fans nationwide.
With Helder Postiga making a complete recovery after putting up a heroic performance in the last match, the fans were looking forward to the 'jugalbandi' of Hume and Postiga in front of goal.
Head coach, Jose Molina, fielded almost the same team but with two changes in a new 4-4-1-1 formation. Robert Lalthlamuana started in the place of Prabir Das while Iain Hume replaced Juan Belencoso in front of goal. Robert, Sereno, Kotal and Arnab Mondal formed the defensive four while Debjit Majumder took position under goal. The midfield had captain Borja and Pearson alongside Ralte and Doutie on either side. Helder Postiga took position behind Iain Hume.
The match started with Pune's marquee player, Sissoko trying to take advantage of a wayward ball but his shot went completely off target. The next minute, ATK threatened Pune's defence through Doutie and Kotal's right flank play. With Pune trying to take chances in the other end, ATK built chances through Borja, who sent a fantastic cross for Hume to collect and Postiga, whose powerful long shot missed the net by inches.
At the 15th minute mark ATK survived a scare as Pune continued to build chances inside the box only to fall short in front of the defence. However, ATK continued to counter-attack. Postiga again sent a shot at goal only to find it deflected for a corner while Hume's aerial tussle for long crosses continued.
By the 20th minute, the attacking index read 43% in the favour of Pune. While Postiga, Doutie, Borja and Hume continued to throng the Pune defence; Lucca, Anibal and Narayan Das kept Debjit on his toes.
In the 34th minute, ATK came very close to score when Kotal's pass to Doutie and Doutie's cross inside the box found Postiga, who unfortunately lost balance and missed the target. However, the 42nd minute saw centre-back, Henrique Sereno receiving a yellow card for fouling Lucca. At the 40 minute mark, a nasty clash of heads between Ralte and Eduardo, saw the later needing medical assistance. However he resumed play.
In the very next minute, Eduardo showed his determination, when he gifted Pune with the lead from a Narayan Das corner which he converted with a slick header past the keeper. He, however, had to be substituted in a couple of minutes as he went down again and was carried off a the field in a stretcher and ambulance.
With three minutes added to the first half of play, ATK put in all their heart into it to get an equaliser. Hume headed a ball towards Postiga who again found his shot blocked by a Pune defender. In the dying minutes, ATK was awarded a corner, where Doutie sent in the ball towards an unmarked Borja at the far end. He headed the ball in the middle of the box but found it headed away to safety. The referee blew the whistle to bring the first half to an end.
The scoreline read:
FC Pune City 1:0 Atletico de Kolkata
First Half stats:
Possession: PUN 47% : 55% ATK
Shots on Goal: PUN 2 : 0 ATK
Crosses: PUN 5 : 8 ATK
Passing accuracy: PUN 63% : 65% ATK
Number of Passes: PUN 152 : 177 ATK
The second half started with Jose Molina bringing in the youngster Bidyananda Singh in the place of Lalrindika Ralte. Very soon, Hume's header found Doutie at the edge of the box who tried to send in a curling cross only to find the ball settle in the hands of Bete. Postiga built up a chance at the 51st minute, as he tried to send the ball across the face of the goal but Bidyananda's sliding attempt failed to reach the ball on time
ATK continued to build chances but in the 54th minute, the referee awarded Pune with a penalty and Pritam Kotal with a yellow card, for his handball inside the box. With tempers flying high, even Arnab Mondal received a yellow card. Anibal Rodriguez walked up to take the spot kick and scored to give Pune a double lead at the 56th minute mark.
At the hour mark, the attacking index read 73% in the favour of Pune while the possession read 55% in the favour of ATK. From hereafter, ATK continued to press and build.
In the 65th minute, Bidyananda got a chance to score but found his shot being fisted away by Bete. A fantastic chance opened up for ATK in the 68th minute, when Postiga was fouled by Sissoko at the inside edge of the box that earned ATK a penalty. Hume walked up to take his position. His spot kick bounced off Bete to come towards him and he scored without any mistake in his second attempt.
It was a complete ATK show thereafter. In the 72nd minute, Hume's cross found Doutie whose header went just inches wide off target. In the next minute, Postiga took an aim at goal which Bete fumbled with in front of goal but eventually collected before a charging Hume could equalise.
Molina brought in fresh legs into the match when he substituted Pearson for the prolific Javi Lara and Iain Hume for Juan Belencoso. The inspired ATK performance by then, had notched up the attacking index to a whooping 91% in the favour of ATK.
The last 10 minutes, saw Javi Lara, Sameehg Doutie, Helder Postiga, Pritam Kotal and Bidyananda Singh pulling every stop to find a equaliser through swift passes, long crosses, headers and shots.
With four minutes added to the final half of play, ATK was awarded a couple of corners and free kicks to put into effect their set piece tactics, but Pune somehow managed to keep them at bay, and finally the match ended with the referee's whistle.
FT Scoreline: FC Pune City 2:1 Atletico de Kolkata
Full Time stats:
Possession: PUN 42% : 58% ATK
Shots on Goal: PUN 3 : 3 ATK
Crosses: PUN 6 : 18 ATK
Passing accuracy: PUN 62% : 70% ATK
Number of Passes: PUN 270 : 431 ATK
In the after match Awards, Helder Postiga was awarded the Amul Fittest Player of the Match for his prolific display of footballing skills and fitness.
ATK at present holds the third position in the ISL League table, just behind Mumbai City FC and Delhi Dynamos. The next match of the red and white brigade is on the 13th of November at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium against Delhi Dynamos FC.
Till then, keep supporting ATK and show them that they always have the back of their fans through every high and low.
Also, keep chanting #AamarBukeyATK!