FC Pune City ended Atletico De Kolkata’s unbeaten run in the Indian Super League with a score of 1 – 3. The team from Pune pulled off an almost flawless game with the perfect balance of defence and attack. While FC Pune City played well all over, they showed a defensive master class that few teams in the Indian Super League have managed to display till now. The best part of the defensive performance from FC Pune City was that they didn’t just sit in their half but played a balanced game. They defended well and took their chances well to put the game beyond Atletico De Kolkata.
The State of the Two Teams
Despite the acquisition of Jermaine Pennant, FC Pune City began without him and Trezeguet both. I found that surprising because even though Pennant has authority issues, his fundamental game is tailor made for a striker like Trezeguet. I assume Trezeguet was unfit after the last match while Pennant is still unfit because he hasn’t played for about 9 – 10 months now because he was released in the January of this year.
For those of you who don’t know what Pennant is capable of and what his authority issues are like, I suggest you read my player profile of Jermaine Pennant. In case, you’re wondering Franco Colomba chose to go with the front pairing of Goossens and Dudu. For the home team, Fikru came back into the team for Rafi with the Spanish midfield continuing behind them.
Atletico De Kolkata Dominat Earlier Exchanges
The game began with Atletico De Kolkata dominating possession and attack. However, FC Pune City looked to be solid behind the ball and, to be honest, their defending was very good. There was commitment and heart in their defending. They looked determined to not concede. Fikru, by the way, was a menace to be watched. However, soon enough, FC Pune’s defenders got on top of him as well.
Atletico De Kolkata’s pitch is beautiful. Its lush green and bump free. The ball is rolling across it the way my omelette slides on my pan. I put a lot of butter in it, that’s the secret to a tasty omelette and… some meat.
There were a number of shots from Kolkata but none of them seemed to be clear cut chances. Most were half chances but finishes were poor. Because of their strategy of defending, FC Pune City picked up two yellow cards within 30 minutes – Pritam and Sensei Ofentse. There were a few forays forward from FC Pune City but they were mainly forward to the wings, back, and then side again and again. They seemed to be out of ideas on what to do up until they scored through Dudu.
FC Pune City Draw First Blood
The cross came in from the left and it was sweet and bendy like a banana. The ball was put in by Davide Colomba, and nodded in by Dudu who rose majestically over the Kolkata defence. Just so you know, the goal was scored when Atletico De Kolkata were down to 10 men because Josemi was off the pitch receiving treatment. Atletico De Kolkata 0 – 1 FC Pune City.
Dudu, for me, was the man of the match. He was all over the pitch and, more importantly, all over the faces of the Kolkata’s defenders. He was the Energizer Bunny of football. Josemi, in particular, will have nightmares about Dudu tonight.
Antonio Lopez Habas, the coach of Kolkata, looked mighty pissed with the goal. He looks like someone who could star in Breaking Bad or even The Wire. He looks badass!
What I found surprising in the first half was that, Kolkata’s attack mainly boiled down to long shots from outside Pune’s box. It’s a sign of how well FC Pune City were defending that even the likes of Luis Enrique and Borja couldn’t unlock their defence.
Despite all the huffing and puffing from Kolkata, it was FC Pune City who could’ve gone 2 up twice stoppage time through Goossens from outside the box and from the corner spot. That was the first half.
Story Continues In the Second Half
The second half started slowly with a similar theme as the first half. However, FC Pune City had a little more control of the match than Kolkata this time. Just then, Katsouranis stepped up and put his mark on the game. He ran from the midfield, beat two men with his power and poise, before striking across the ball into the top right corner of the net. Even Peter Schmeichel couldn’t have saved that one. That goal from the Euro 2004 Cup winner made it Atletico De Kolkata 0 – 2 FC Pune City.
Atletico De Kolkata almost pulled one goal back through Fikru but he couldn’t find the finish as had been the case today from Kolkata. His shot flashed wide tamely. Kolkata, though, showed why they are the league leaders by not giving up. They won a number of corners, put in a few crosses, and even got off some shots but failed to score a goal.
In fact, it was still FC Pune City who came closest to scoring the third goal of the game. A lucky deflection gave Pune possession with a 3 on 3 and Goossens the carrier. Goossens went all the way and pulled off a shot that was wide only by a few inches.
It’s worth pointing out that by the 70th minute, Luis Garcia was taken off and rightly so. The Spanish attacker was kept very quiet by Pune’s defenders and that’s a considerable achievement.
A scramble in the box caused the Pune keeper to charge into Goossens to get a flighted ball. He went through Goossens like he was paper and looked to have caused considerable injury. The frenzied signals from Goossens, holding his back, showed how much pain he was in. I hope he’s fine. It’s never good to see bad injuries, especially when the spine is involved.
Lots of Action in the Last 10 Minutes
Around the 80th minute, Kolkata had the best chance of the game when Arindam Bhattacharya failed to gather a lofted ball. The ball bounced free but FC Pune City managed to block the incoming shot. Soon after, Fikru got free in the Pune box only to be taken down by the keeper, who was looking increasingly nervous and error prone. Penalty was given along with a yellow car and, in my opinion, the keeper should’ve been sent off. Fikru stepped up and pulled one goal back for Kolkata. Atletico De Kolkata 1 – 2 FC Pune City.
This put the cat amongst the pigeons and Habas tried to take advantage by bringing on Rafi, another striker. Pune came under a lot of pressure in the last seven minutes but actually managed to score their 3rd goal. The goal came via a free kick taken by Davide Colomba (Son of FC Pune City’s coach Franco Colomba) who hit the ball into the net from outside the box by getting it through under the Kolkata wall. Atletico De Kolkata 1 – 3 FC Pune City.
That was mostly it. Kolkata failed to get a goal even though they tried.