FC Pune City (FCPC) scrambled to a 2-1 victory in front of home fans for the first time in Hero ISL 2016, via goals from Eduardo Ferreira and Anibal Rodriguez against in-form Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) at the Balewadi stadium. Iain Hume converted a penalty kick for the visiting team.
Debjit Majumder, guarding Atletico's goal, could only watch through a crowd of bodies as Ferreira scored FCPC’s first goal with a fierce header, twisting in the air to nod home a flag-kick. The ATK custodian got his fingers to a penalty kick by Rodriguez, but his block was not enough to stop the ball bobbing in.
Rival goalkeeper Edel Bete faced a moment of truth when ATK was awarded a penalty kick for a foul by captain Mohammed Sissoko on Helder Postiga. The former blocked Hume’s shot with an outstretched dive to his right, turned his huge body and dived to his left for the rebound, but the striker managed to jab it past the keeper's outstretching arms.
Two penalty-kick awards and numerous yellow cards marked an intense match between two combative sides. The danger of injury in a body-contact sport came into play when FCPC goalscorer Ferreira was carried off following a concussion.
Antonio Habas was forced to introduce Jesus Tato in place of the injured Brazilian, who had raced to the dugout after scoring, to celebrate with his coach and gesturing with hands about the work done. But unfortunately he did not return after the second fall, near the centre line.
Goakeepers at both ends were kept on their toes. Bete stretched out to get within range of a Postiga snap attempt from far out, the ball arched into the side netting. Debjit earlier remained alert when Sissoko turned and shot goalwards, the ball was wide off target.
Bete got into the rescue act when rushing out to collect the ball, beating Hume to the ball. ATK defence were tested next, Narayan Das floated the ball in off a flag-kick for Eduardo Ferreira to nod in powerfully, but into the defender standing in the path.
Needing a win somehow to keep head above water, the home team pressed numbers into the attack, forcing ATK to defend deeper around the box.
Off a move down the left, Luca trapped and swiveled to his right for space to shoot, tried to pick his spot but was off target.
The fans were treated to off-the-ball excitement when Eduardo hurt his cheek when challenging an aerial ball. Teammates alerted the referee seeing their teammate lying on his back. The signal for ambulance was given, though by the time the vehicle reached the sideline, the Brazilian had recovered his senses.
Two minutes after the injury and headed goal, Eduardo collapsed again near the center-line, feeling the after-effects of the injury, which at that time had been treated with a bandage on the right cheek. The home team fans had cheered him when he trotted back into play.
FCPC increased the lead in the 55th minute after a dramatic moment. Anibal moved ahead to head a floater from the right flank, the ball bounced off him onto ATK defender Pritam Kotal’s hand. The referee upheld an appeal for deliberate handball, showed the player a yellow and pointed to the penalty spot.
Majumder read Anibal’s shot correctly and raised both palms up for a reflex block, the ball changed direction after impact to lodge into the other corner. FCPC’s first goal was spectacular, the second was a slice of luck as Kotal had not handled intentionally. Habas team moved up from last to sixth, ATK remain in third place.
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