Defending champions Atletico de Kolkata extended their lead at the top of the table with a 4-1 win over FC Pune City at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Friday night. A hat-trick from Iain Hume was enough to seal the three points for Antonio Habas’s side as they now sit pretty on top of the table with a four-point lead over FC Goa. David Platt made six changes to his side that lost 3-1 against Delhi Dynamos, while Arata Izumi came in for Mohammed Rafique for Atletico de Kolkata.
First Half: Atletico de Kolkata score early while Pune City waste chances
Atletico started more aggressively with Izumi and Sameehg Doutie heavily involved for the home side. It didn’t take long for the home side to take the lead at the Salt Lake Stadium with Iain Hume scoring after only eight minutes. Izumi did well to lay it off for Hume after both players were clear on goal, and the Canadian striker made no mistake to put it past Arindam.
The home side kept dominating the game in the early stages after taking the lead and enjoyed a lot of possession in the middle of the park. Borja Fernandez had the chance to extend his team’s lead in the 18th minute after Hume chased the ball inside Pune City’s penalty box to put in a cross, but his header was just over the crossbar.
Pune City started to get back into the game after 20 minutes with Ruiz and Eugeneson Lyngdoh making things happen for the visitors. And they came close to level the score in the 23rd minute, but Turkish striker Tuncay Sanli’s shot with his left foot came off the far post.
Lyndgoh then received the first yellow card of the night in the 27th minute which seemed to be a shocking decision from the referee as the replays showed the midfielder had clearly won the ball off Doutie. Adrian Mutu made a brilliant run in the 34th minute and did well to get past few players, but the Atletico defenders did well to win the ball back.
Minutes later, Doutie made a briliant run on the right side but ended up hitting the side netting. Mutu had a great opportunity to bring his team back in the game in the 39th minute, but after making a brilliant run through the middle he passed it to Lenny, who laid it off back to Mutu and the striker couldn’t make anything out of the return pass. A minute later, Pune City came close to scoring yet again through Mutu, but his free-kick was saved by Arminder Singh. The scoreline remained 1-0 at the break.
Second half: Hume completes hat-trick
After the break, things only got worse for David Platt’s team as it took Atletico de Kolkata and Hume just two minutes to double their lead. Hume’s acrobatic effort from a Borja Fernandez lob ended up in the back of the net and Pune City now had a big job on their hands.
The Pune side again struggled in the opening minutes of the second half as the home side kept dominating the game, and looked more likely to score again. Mutu was in the thick of the things for Pune City as he tried to bring them back into the game. Atletico had a golden chance in the 77th minute to seal the game when Borja’s initial shot was saved by Arindam but his shot on the rebound was blocked by Ravanan, and his final effort was over the crossbar.
Hume then completed his second hat-trick of the season in the 83rd minute from a Sameehg Doutie pass to make it 3-0 to Atletico de Kolkata. Mutu’s efforts finally paid off in the 86th minute as he pulled one back for the visitors after he got past four Atletico de Kolkata players inside the penalty box. Just a couple of minutes later, Pune City came close to scoring their second goal, but Ruiz’s header came off the post.
Former Eibar striker Dejan Lekic then completed the rout in the dying seconds of the game as he cut inside from the right side to put it past Arindam. Pune City never got the momentum throughout the game, and were demolished by Atletico de Kolkata, who are riding high on confidence and became the first team to qualify for the playoffs.