ISL: Marcelinho hat-trick sinks NorthEast United 5-0

FC Pune City rode on Marcelinho's brilliance to thump NorthEast United 5-0.

FCPC moves to second place with 15 points after eight games.   -  ISL

FC Pune City ran riot with a 5-0 win over NorthEast United (NEU) at the Balewadi stadium on Saturday.  Mohammed Ashique tapped in an eighth-minute goal for the host - the sense of timing and touch of class displayed by the Indian would make any Brazilian striker proud.

As the action unfolded

Ashique's brilliance was seen again, this time in captain Marcelinho’s direct free-kick conversion, who capped off an emphatic win with a hat-trick.  Adil Khan rounded off the tally with his first and team’s fifth goal against a hapless visitor.

Team coach Ranko Popovic, suspended for an outburst against match officials in an earlier game, watched from the stands. The hardest worker on the pitch, Marcinho from Brazil, ended on the losing side after taking on the home team single-handedly. However, some stout defending kept him at bay.

Marcinho wages lone battle

Marcinho provided a glimpse of his talent as he controlled a ball in the midfield, sidestepped a tackle and raced into the goalmouth alone but shot into the goalkeeper instead of around him.

FCPC's response to the Brazilian’s audacious run was the first goal, involving three players. Jonatan Lucca raced along with the ball down the left flank near the centreline, stepped on the gas near the box to race past a defender closing in to cut him off. The Italian carried on till the goalline, and then changed direction to find Emiliano Alfaro in position for the pass.

NEU goalkeeper Rehenesh got ready for Alfaro to fire, instead, the latter tapped a square pass across the goal. Ashique appeared out of nowhere to tap home first-time with his left foot - three touches, the third one as stylish and spectacular.

Marcelinho nets hat-trick

Meanwhile, Marcinho shook up the rival defence with a snap header, sneaking into the danger area and nodding down, only for the ball to bounce wide.

Marcelinho, a Brazilian in purple and orange, announced his arrival with a burst of pace and had to be pulled down by NEU defender. He got up and took the free-kick himself - he waited patiently for the defenders to line up between the ball and goal. The crowd buzzed in excitement as Marcelinho picked his spot in the net with a left-footed placement across the wall and away from diving Rehenesh.

Popovich hugged a child in joy and Vladica Grujic, assistant coach and in charge, celebrated in the dugout. The onslaught was still to come. Marcelinho let loose a shot, but the NEU custodian tried a reflex save with outstretched hands. However, the ball went in off his hands, then rolled in between his legs and the captain completed his hat-trick with a rocket-like shot on the move.

Down by three goals, the visitor continued to press for a goal. Marcio worked the hardest, forcing a save off a free-kick from the flank. Danilo Lopes reacted late to the rebound and later found a shot deflected by a defender.

FCPC moves to second place with 15 points after eight games.

Scores - FC Pune City 5 (Mohammed Ashique 8, Marcelinho 27, 45, 86 hat-trick, Adil Khan 88) bt North East United FC 0.

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