FULL-TIME: FC Pune City 2-2 ATK
FC Pune City: 17′ John Johnson (Own Goal); 76′ Robin Singh (Header, Assist: Marcelinho).
ATK: 23′ Jayesh Rane (Assist: Edu Garcia); 61′ Edu Garcia (Penalty).
ATK were not able to push the needle to get closer to a play-off spot as they drew against Pune City in an end-to-end game at the Balewadi.
The hosts started the game with three at the back and with Marcelinho playing behind Robin Singh and Iain Hume up top in a now familiar 3-4-1-2 formation. ATK started with the front three of Everton Santos, Edu Garcia and Manuel Lanzarote.
Both teams showed attacking intent and had their fair set of chances intermittently throughout the game. Edu Garcia saw his attempt hit the post in the 11th minute and Stankovic shot wide from a free kick outside the box early on.
It was Pune City who opened the scoring in the 17th minute after a Marko Stankovic shot from outside the box picked up a wicked deflection off John Johnson and went into the goal. The lead was soon nullified from a fabulous curler from Jayesh Rane who had made a run into the box undetected and created a bit of space for himself before taking the shot. The scores were level as the teams went into the half-time break.
The second half saw more of the same with the teams not necessarily focusing on intricate play, but taking shots if they were in space in and around the box. Marcelinho had a catalogue of shots on goal (9 shots), and much alike ATK’s Manuel Lanzarote lacked the ability to finish tonight – their delivery from set-pieces and otherwise was not on point as well in what was an off-day for the influencers.
Edu Garcia who was in a league of his own tonight got the second for ATK from a penalty in the 61st minute awarded for a handball by Diego Carlos in the box. And a few minutes later, it was Pune City who turned in this time around with an equaliser to level the scores. Robin Singh won himself a corner and from the resulting delivery by Marcelinho nodded the ball to get his first goal in over a year.
Although Pune City did play for a point towards the end as the Running Sum graph suggests, both teams were positive and played to entertain.
ATK had a big advantage tonight with their trio of Everton Santos, Lanzarote and Edu Garcia far more accomplished than Iain Hume and Robin Singh who played alongside Marcelinho.
However, they could not make it count and the result will disappoint ATK in their quest for the play-off spot. The two-time champions haven’t been consistent – they’ve not put together two wins in a row so far this season.
Their next two fixtures are against FC Goa and Mumbai City and it will take some doing for ATK to clinch the play-off spot.