An unexpected full-time score-line saw Atletico de Kolkata stumble for the 1st time this season against a Pune City side who came into this fixture with a 1-0 win over North-East United. High flying Kolkata lose their first game in the competition – Kolkata’s recent form hasn’t been good with just 2 draws and a loss in the last 3 games. Pune’s finally gained some momentum as they’ve gained back to back wins in the competition for the first time – previous beating North East United and now league leaders Kolkata.
The Pune franchise, who played without their ex Juventus forward David Trezeguet, surprised everyone and all as their East Bengal recruit Dudu repaid his coach’s faith with a well connected header in the 31st minute to open the deadlock.
Till then, Atletico de Kolkata who were boosted by the return of star forward Fikru Teferra and manager Antonio Habas off the field impressed with their passing and had the better share of possession against Pune’s defence that looked stumble.
But the day clearly did not belong to the league leaders who had two erros early on with their top two striking duo, Fikru and Borja Fernandez – missing one each.
Having seized the momentum thanks to Nigerian’s strike, Kostas Katsouranis made it 2-0 after the break when the Greek star used his outstep to curl one away as goalie Subhasish Roy Chowdhury looked in absolute disbelief.
Just after the half hour mark, Lobo was once again at the thick of the things as he showed good control of the ball to go into the Pune box from the left and cut it back to Borja Fernandez at the top of the box. However, the shot from the Spaniard was deflected by a diving Magliocchetti and it went out for a corner.
The Kolkata franchise finally made their presence on the scoreboard in the 84th minute after Pune goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya felled Fikru in an incomprehensible manner as the Ethiopian converted from the spot without much chaos.
Pune got a free-kick at the edge of the box when Josemi pushed Dudu from behind as Davide Colomba converted the shot with a leftfooter that took a Kingshuk Debnath’s deflection to hit the back of the net to sink Atletico de Kolkata’s hopes. Pune might not have the best of defence on display but they survived with Atletico de Kolkata’s poor approach in the first-half.
When it was expected that the team would put up a spirited display with Fikru back up front and coach Habas back in his dug-out, Atletico de Kolkata’s approach was a bit casual.
In the very first opportunity, Fikru received the ball from Ofentse Nato as the Ethiopian striker turned and volleyed from outside the box, but only to shoot it wide of the goal in the 11th minute.
After Fikru, it was the turn of another top Atletico de Kolkata’s player as Borja Fernandez after getting the ball from Cavin Lobo from the left-flank could only shoot over the post.
Atletico de Kolkata could have been down by two goals before the half-time but Subhasish Roy Chowdhury brought up a spirited save towards his right from a John Goossens strike.
Atletico de Kolkata had another setback when their top defender Jose Miguel had a bloody chin but the Spaniard played on.
However Atletico de Kolkata still remained on top with 12 points in 7 games, winning 3 and drawing 3 with just 1 loss, while Pune climb up to 3rd in the table. Kolkata has played 2 more game compared to Chennai who are 2nd on the table.
Featured image courtesy: India.com