ATK and Pune City play out a goalless draw
Atlético de Kolkata were held to a goalless draw by FC Pune City in front of more than 12,000 fans at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on Friday evening. The home team had a flurry of chances but they were wasteful in front of goal, with Juan Belencoso missing quite a few.
ATK started the game on the up and got a free kick in the fourth minute from the left-hand side. Javi Lara went directly for goal and forced a save from Pune goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya. Jewel Raja was next to try his luck from distance in the seventh minute but his shot went well wide as Kolkata upped the ante. Ofentse Nato then went close in the 12th minute when his shot from the edge of the penalty area went dangerously past Bhattacharya’s right hand post.
Lara again had a shot on goal in the 17th minute after a classic counter-attack, which resulted in Bhattacharya pulling off a save. Two minutes later Belencoso put his header just wide from Abinash Ruidas’ cross from the left. He then missed a golden opportunity to put Kolkata 1-0 up when he failed to turn in a cross, his miscued shot going over the goal.
Pune got their first shot on target in the 24th minute when Mohamed Sissoko’s grounded long-range effort was comfortably collected by Dani Mallo. Anibal Rodriguez then had a go at goal from the edge of Kolkata’s penalty area, but blasted his shot over as Pune tried to go on the attack. Momar Ndoye then got onto the end of a Pune counter-attack, but squeezed his shot just wide of Mallo’s near post, onto the side-netting. But in a half that struggled to get going, that was as close as it got, and the teams went into the tunnel at 0-0.
The second half started with Kolkata again the more eager of the two teams. Belencoso wasted a clear-cut goal-scoring chance in the 52nd minute when he failed to connect a low header to a Bidyananda Singh cross that flashed across an empty goal.
The pace of the game got slow from there on, with neither teams able to create any defining moments. Dramane Traore had a rasping shot saved by Mallo on the near post in the 72nd minute, and from the resulting corner Sanju Pradhan shot over the goal.
Belencoso then had another miss in the 78th minute when Stephen Pearson’s rebounded shot fell to the Spaniard, who, with the whole goal in front of him, somehow fluffed his lines. That proved to be the last goal-scoring opportunity as the match ended 0-0. With their eighth draw of the season, Kolkata remained third in the standings, while Pune finished their campaign in sixth position after 16 points from 14 games.
Club award: Shared by both clubs
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Rahul Bheke
DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Abinash Ruidas
Maruti Suzuki Swift Moment of the Match: Arindam Bhattacharya
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Bidyananda Singh
Hero of the Match: Prabir Das