When the top two teams met at the Balewadi stadium the coaches knew it was a match which would decide the fate of the Indian Super League in the long run. David Platt, being an attacking player lined up his team in a similar fashion while Antonio Lopez Habas stuck to his defensive game. The move seemed to backfire badly for Atletico de Kolkata who lost the match 1-0.
National duty players returned for both the sides.
The most expensive signing for FC Pune City, Eugenson Lyngdoh made it a tough proposition for the Kolkata defence. On the other flank Jackichand Singh scored the all important goal to clinch three points for his side.
Atletico had its backline in full force as Arnab Mandal and Rino Anto returned. But somehow the defence did not click and was quite untidy when stacked up against the incessant hounding by FC Pune City. The depth of the squad was tested and David Platt’s side emerged clear winners as injuries and suspensions continue to haunt Kolkata.
Pacy FC Pune City exhausted the slow Atletico defense.
The home team outpaced the Kolkata side throughout the ninety minutes of the game. Veterans Didier Zokora, Tuncay Sanli pressed deep and made life difficult for the Kolkata defense.
To rely on defensive play and counterattacks did not yield the result that Habas would have wanted. The deep defending ensured Pune players bossed the midfield and stretch the backline with countless runs.
Bikash Jairu was no match for left back Nallapan Mohanraj who had an impressive outing in the previous game. The wingback earned a yellow card as he tried to wrongfully hold back the Sikkimese winger. Turkish forward Tuncay Sanli won the man of the match for his ceaseless running and snatching abilities. He kept the defenders busy with his continuous movement and did not let the back four settle down at any moment.
A different strategy needs to be adopted by Antonio Lopez Habas.
The Indian Super League has scaled new heights this season with extremely fast, flowing football from teams like FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC. To counter the same, Habas needs to rejig his style entirely.
Too much defending is not helping as the midfield is not able to hold its own against the opposition. Tonight was not a different tale as Borja Fernandez and Oftentse Nato had to fall back, thereby freeing up the midfield. The lack of motivation in the midfield saw the attackers frustrated and clueless. Javi Lara was unproductive till the time he played. Iain Hume had one shot saved by Steve Simonsen. Apart from that, his game was dormant and ineffective.
With this loss, Atletico de Kolkata slip to second. More than that, the fate of the former champions is worrying as they try to make a mark with last season’s ideas and a slow defensive unit that does not seem to measure up to the demands of ISL 2.