Pune: Pune FC rode on India international Telem Jackichand's second minute strike to snap defending champions Atletico de Kolkata's unbeaten run with a 1-0 win and jump to the top of the Indian Super League standings here on Saturday.
The game got off to a lightning start with Jackichand capitalising on a long ball into the ATK half and finishing first time with his left foot past goalkeeper Juan Calatayud to put the home side 1-0 up with just 76 seconds on the clock at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium.
With nine points from four matches (three wins and a loss), Pune leapfrogged ATK on top of ISL table, pushing down the defending champions, who suffered their first defeat of the season today, to second spot. ATK now have seven points from four matches (two wins, one draw and one loss).
Calatayud was a busy man throughout the match and was called into action a minute later to save from a long range effort by Costa Rican Yendrick Ruiz. The home side were firmly in control in the opening stages as Kolkata struggled to get on the ball.
Pune could have doubled their advantage in the 22nd minute but Tuncay Sanli blazed over the bar with a shot off his weaker left foot. The defending champions were on the back foot and a quick counter-attack set up two more chances for Pune in a goal-mouth scramble at the half-hour mark.
ATK's defence somehow kept it at 1-0 after attempts from Ruiz and Jackichand were cleared off the line. Ruiz had another go from a distance but Calatayud was equal to the task. Pune had another go before going into the break in the 41st minute but Eugeneson Lyngdoh's shot, however, failed to test the keeper.
Kolkata had to wait till the 38th minute for their first shot on goal, off Ofentse Nato that he dragged wide off the target. Pune keeper Steven Simonsen got his first touch of the ball four minutes later after making a routine save at near post from ATK's first shot on target.
The game resumed with Pune maintaining their first-half dominance and attacking Atletico's goal. Sanli once again fired over the bar after running onto a knock down from a Pune free-kick. The Turkish international was seeing plenty of the ball and had another shot at the hour mark only to be saved by Calatayud.
With 10 minutes of play left, ATK finally began to crank up the pressure in search of an equalizer. Pune keeper Simonsen, who did not have much to do for most part of the game, made a spectacular save from an Iain Hume effort that looked destined for a goal.
Pune's marquee player Adrian Mutu came off the bench and could have killed the game five minutes later but his header flew over the bar to still give ATK a glimmer of hope to make it parity.
Substitute Jaime Gavilan had a go at the Pune goal three minutes from time but his effort was directed straight at keeper Simonsen.
ATK skipper Borja Fernandez also had a chance of getting a point for his side, but the Spaniard failed to give his header proper direction off a corner much to the relief of 9,087 Pune supporters who turned up for the match.