FC Pune City faced an in-form NorthEast United FC at the Belawadi Stadium, Pune. While the hosts won their last game against FC Goa 2-1, the visitors were vying to resurrect their journey, coming off a 1-0 defeat against Mumbai City FC.
The match started on a positive note and was played at a brisk pace. After end-to-end play not creating a lot of opportunities in the first half, the break brought the much needed impetus in both the teams. At the final whistle, NorthEast United went into the tunnel victorious, courtesy an Emiliano Alfaro goal.
Here, we take a look at the players’ ratings based on the match.
FC Pune City
Edel Bete: 7/10
The goalkeeper was a real presence under the bar. Confident and inspiring, the two-time ISL winner proved yet again why he’s one of the most sought after keepers in India. Bete made a few important saves and was good at distribution. Ultimately, he didn’t have much to do in the goal.
Ravanan was fast and compact in defence. The player played the right-side of a three-man defence and performed his duties well. He kept Nicolas Velez silent for long phases of the game, whenever he played the left wing. Ravanan also didn’t allow Holicharan Narzary too much freedom either.
Gourmangi Singh: 6/10
The former Indian defender showed a lot of experience manning the Pune defence. The player who originated from NorthEast India did allow a little space to Nicolas Velez, but eventually kept things tight. Playing at the left side of the three man defence, Gourmangi looked fit and fast and coordinated well with Adinga.
Soares Ferreira: 6/10
The cornerstone of Pune’s defence, the strong defender showcased all of his abilities, keeping most of NorthEast attacks at bay. Showing enough muscle and reading of the game, Perreira ensured that Edel Bete didn’t have to do too much throughout the game. The second yellow card was debatable, as the challenge did not look too threatening.
Zodingliana Ralte: 6/10
Playing as a make-shift wing-back in the 3-5-2 formation, Ralte had an impressive match. The Shillong Lajong player performed both his offensive and defensive duties well and kept the likes of Katsumi Yusa and Nirmal Chhetri silent for most of the match.
Lenny Rodrigues: 7/10
Lenny Rodrigues showed signs of his former self and why he was regarded as the best Indian box-to-box midfielder at a certain time in the past. The Pune City midfielder linked well with captain Sissoko and created chances at will for his attacking team-mates. Playing as a wing-back in the 3-5-2 formation, Rodrigues played most of the match in close association with Sissoko.
Mohammad Sissoko: 8/10
The captain had a memorable night. Playing just ahead of his defence, he linked up play brilliantly and saw a lot of ball throughout the match. Sissoko was a massive presence in the middle of the park and shielded his defence well. The former Liverpool and Juventus player played a lot of balls in the attacking third, finding players with consummate ease. The skipper switched play often and was one of the best players on the pitch.
Francis Fernandes: 7/10
Francis Fernandes played a good game today. The winger created a lot of opportunities and played a lot of balls into the opposition box, which created a lot of flutter for Subrata Paul and co. The former Salgaocar and Delhi Dynamos player took on Shouvik Ghosh and breezed past him a couple of times. He also linked well with Lenny and Sissoko.
Jonathan Lucca had an average game, in terms of his lofty standards. The Brazilian played as a number 10 behind Tato and Anibal and linked-up well with his team-mates, but couldn’t conjure anything noteworthy. The former AS Roma and FC Goa player tried hard to create chances, only to fall short on a number of occasions.
Jesus Tato: 7/10
The Spanish front-man joined hands with Anibal to take the goal-scoring responsibilities for the Antonio Habas-coached side. Playing at a brisk pace, the player looked a little jaded and often drifted towards the right side of the pitch. However, he still made some attacking runs in the final third which posed problems for the opposition defence.
Anibal Zurdo: 5/10
Anibal linked up well with Jonathan Lucca, Tato and Sissoko throughout the match, but did little as the main striker. The Mexican needs to convert or at least take more chances on goal to become the person who his team looks at to do the goal-scoring.
Arata Izumi: 5/10
Izumi played a good game after coming on and gave every opportunity and space for Tato to create chances. He shifted from the left wing to the centre to accommodate the attacking winger. Despite not having as good a game as last time around, Izumi still had a decent outing.
Sanju Pradhan: 4/10
The former East Bengal winger tried a lot of attacking runs and linked well with both Sissoko and Jonathan Lucca, but was not very effective. With diminished speed, Pradhan did not look to be as incisive as he’s known to be.
The striker didn’t have much time to affect proceedings but should’ve converted a superb cut-in from Taco late into the second half.