KOLKATA: A devastating display of counter-attacking football by FC Pune City condemned ATK to their worst defeat in the Hero Indian Super League as the defending champions lost 1-4 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday.
Brazilian forward Marcelo Leite Pereira (Marcelinho) netted twice for the visitors. Emiliano Alfaro and Rohit Kumar also found the net for Ranko Popovic’s side as the visitors bounced back after losing the opening encounter against Delhi Dynamos FC.
For ATK, a stunning free-kick from Bipin Singh in the second half was the only highlight on a disappointing night, as the defending champions continued to miss star striker Robbie Keane.
FC Pune City led 1-0 at half-time.
Playing their first match at home, ATK started on the front foot but it were FC Pune City who drew first blood. Some loose defending by ATK centre-back Tom Thorpe allowed Alfaro a run at the goal in the 12th minute. The Uruguayan in turn found Marcelinho on the edge of the ATK box who did the rest.
Teddy Sheringham’s side tried to respond quickly but they looked to have out of ideas in the final third. ATK’s best chance of the half fell to Hitesh Sharma after Zequinha’s stinging effort from long range was palmed away by Pune goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh into his path. The midfielder, however, couldn’t bring the ball under control quickly enough to do any damage.
Five minutes into the second half, ATK found themselves level courtesy a stunning free kick by Bipin Singh. The goal came as a relief for ATK fans but the joy didn’t last long as minutes later, FC Pune City were back in front for the second time in the game. Marcelinho’s corner from the left saw Rohit Kumar jump high to meet the ball and head it past ATK goalkeeper Debjit Majumdar.
FC Pune City scored the insurance goal 10 minutes later. Marcelinho’s shot was deflected off Jordi Montel and the ATK goalkeeper could only watch the ball roll into his net.
Alfaro sealed the win for the visitors in the 80th minute as ATK were hit on a counter again. This time Marcelinho turned the provider as he laid the ball into the path of Emiliano Alfaro who did well to shoot past the rival goalkeeper.