ISL: Atletico de Kolkata rout FC Pune City 4-1 to storm into semis
The Antonio Habas-coached side sealed their 2nd successive last-four berth with 23 points from 13 matches.
Kolkata: Iain Hume struck his second hat-trick of the season as defending champions Atletico de Kolkata on Friday became the first team to seal a semifinal berth following their 4-1 rout of FC Pune City in the Indian Super League football at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan here today.
The former Canadian International, who had scored a hat-trick in Mumbai, did an encore with his stunning goals in the ninth, 47th and 83nd minutes before Adrian Mutu (86th) pulled one back for the visitors.
Substitute Dejan Lekic, who was brought in place of Sameehg Doutie, sealed the issue with his goal in the dying minutes (90+4th) for their superb win in front of packed turnout of 48721.
Man of the Match Hume also climbed in the goal-scorers' chart to be second behind Stiven Mendoza (10) of Chennaiyin FC.
The Antonio Habas-coached thus sealed their second successive last-four berth of the tournament with 23 points from 13 matches and they will face Mumbai City FC in their concluding league match at home on December 4.
FC Pune City (15 from 12 matches), on the other hand, stretched their winless run to seven matches and their chance of progression to semis will now come down to 24.01 per cent, as per an ISL statistic.
ATK took a ninth minute lead when Hume broke Pune's resistance after being set up by Arata Izumi from the left flank.
It was the South African medio Sameehg Doutie who initiated the move from the midfield and Izumi, inside the box, took the first touch and crossed it to Hume lurking on the far post that appeared to be an offside position.
The assistant referee however did not raise the flag finding Hume on side as the Canadian brought up his seventh goal by slotting the ball into the roof of the net from point-blank range.
Hume brought up his brace, and eighth goal of the tournament, two minutes into the second-half with a brilliant side volley which was equally stunningly set up by captain Borja Fernandez with an outstep scoop and the Canadian had all the time to put it beyond Pune goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya.
The former Kerala Blasters FC forward, who had to shoulder the responsibility up front after Helder Postiga's injury in the ISL opener on October 3, also saved a goal in the 54th minute to deny Pune their second glorious opportunity.
The bald ATK forward showed superb reflexes to clear a loose ball after it deflected off the post before any Pune player could get hold of it.
He brought up his second hat-trick of the season after a superb run of Doutie who blazed past his man on the right flank to break into the box.
The pass to Hume was also crisp as the Canadian made a run towards the back post to tap the ball into the back of the net.
Four minutes later, Mutu got past four men in the box and he slotted the ball past the keeper to get a consolation for his team.
After conceding an early goal, the visitors slowly started making an impact and progressed but found themselves unlucky, especially in the 23rd minute, when former Romanian captain and their marquee player Mutu's powerful leftfooter found the post.
ATK however were in no mood to relent as Doutie initiated a glorious move from the left and set up Hume and Borja inside the box, but both of them missed the ball and failed to double their tally.
Needing a win to book a playoff berth, the defending champions made only one change to their line-up bringing back Izumi Arata in place of Mohammad Rafique.
In stark contrast, FCPC, who are yet to win in their last six matches, made six changes to their starting XI with Dharmaraj Ravanan, Manish Maithani, James Bailey, Lenny Rodrigues, Yendrick Ruiz and Tuncay Sanli handed a berth in the starting team.
They replaced Kalu Uche, Wesley Verhoek, Sushanth, Roger Johnson, Gouramangi and Govin.