FC Pune City’s chances of making it to the playoffs of the Indian Super League took a beating with a 2-2 against ATK at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium on Sunday.
ATK too lost the chance to move within a point of fourth-placed North East United because of the stalemate.
They will remain sixth on the ISL table with 21 points from 15 matches while Pune City’s slim hopes of reaching the top-four have ended.
The victory was important to both the teams and the struggle to win could be seen in their blazing performances in the end to end game of football. In the very second minute of the match, Stankovic made an effort but his shot went inches over the bar. Garcia came close to scoring a goal as well when his shot from the edge of the box struck the crossbar.
Pune drew first blood when Marko Stankovic’s shot distance took a wicked deflection off John Johnson’s trailing leg and nestled in the back of the net in the 17th minute. This was after Robin Singh laid a well-balanced pass to the onrushing Stankovic.
The lead did not last long as six minutes later, Jayesh Rane broke down the left wing, cut in and curled an exquisite shot into the far top. The goal gave ATK squad much-needed confidence and the side began to take control of the match.
At the half-hour mark, Everton Santos attempted an ambitious overhead kick from a Lanzarote free-kick. unfortunately, the ball went inches over the bar. ATK upped the stake as it committed more men forward, while Pune preferred to sit back and hit on the counter.
Four minutes after the half-time, Pune had an impressive chance after Iain Hume found Robin, whose first-time shot produced a diving save from Arindam Bhattacharya in the ATK goal.
At the hour mark, Diego Carlos was proclaimed to have handled the ball when going for a 50-50 ball with Everton. The resulting spot-kick was buried into the net by Edu Garcia, who scored his second goal in three games to put his team 2-1 ahead.
The injury suffered by Pronay Halder, ATK was handed a setback and was taken off Eugeneson Lyngdoh. In the 76th minute, Steve Coppell’s side was dealt with another body blow when Robin headed in a corner from Marcelinho to pull Pune level.
The goal sparked an attack from the Stallions as Marcelinho forced two good saves from Bhattacharya in the last few minutes of the game. ATK threw on Kalu Uche in search of a winner, but the scoreline remained unchanged and both teams had to be content with a point each.
An end-to-end encounter in Pune produced some brilliant individual performances from both sets of players! Now it's your turn to pick the one who was the best!
— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) February 10, 2019