Marcelinho’s hat-trick helps Pune put five past NorthEast

FC Pune City romped to a 5 – 0 victory over NorthEast United FC in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune on Saturday. The Stallions rode on a Marcelinho hat-trick and strikes from Ashique Kuruniyan and Adil Khan to inflict a fourth successive defeat on the Highlanders.

Both teams started off by playing some good passing football in the middle, but unfortunately for the Highlanders, the hosts took the lead in the eighth minute. It all began with a NorthEast move, when Marcinho went on a great run down the middle and ended up bringing out a save from Stallions’ custodian Vishal Kaith. However, Pune went on the counter which ended up with Emiliano Alfaro’s cross being deflected onto the path of Kuruniyan, who slotted home first-time for his maiden Hero ISL goal.

Ten minutes later, and the visitors forged a chance after Malemngamba Meitei’s attempted cross looped off the defender and went into the path of Rowllin Borges, whose first-time volley was on target but deflected off the defence for a corner.

The Highlanders should really have equalised in the 23rd minute when Marcinho got onto the end of Abdul Hakku’s cross. Under no pressure, the Brazilian’s header only managed to graze the frame of the goal. Instead, the Stallions made NorthEast pay five minutes later. A free-kick went the home team’s way and Marcelinho stepped up and scored from a beautifully curled effort to double Pune’s advantage.

Right on half-time, and some poor goalkeeping gave Marcelinho his second and Pune their third. The Brazilian hit a powerful shot from a tight angle and keeper TP Rehenesh spilled the ball which went through his legs and rolled over the goal-line. That was the final bit of action from the half as the hosts went into the break boasting a comfortable three-goal lead.

The Highlanders started the second period with intent and fashioned a chance three minutes after the restart when Marcinho’s free-kick was punched away by Kaith. Five minutes after the hour mark and Emiliano Alfaro managed to get on the other side of the defence with a burst of pace. Rehenesh though was alert enough to rush forward and gather the ball off the Uruguayan’s feet.

Four minutes later Danilo Lopes got onto the end of Marcinho’s free-kick with a header, which Kaith was equal to with a diving save. Substitute Jewel Raja should have got Pune’s fourth nine minutes from time. A cross came his way from Alfaro and faced with the job of a simple tap-in with the keeper at his mercy, Raja put his shot wide.

The Stallions finally did get their fourth four minutes from time. Substitute Marcos Tebar found Marcelinho on the left with a lofted ball and the latter went into the box and drilled in a low shot that beat Rehenesh at his near post and consequently gave the Brazilian his first hat-trick of the season and his second overall in the league.

The home team still refused to be content and a couple of minutes later, when the ball came to Adil Khan from a melee in the box, he simply toe-poked it home with Rehenesh unsighted by his own defenders. It ended the rout as Pune jumped to second spot on the table, boasting the best goal-difference in the league.



Club Award: FC Pune City

Swift Moment of the Match: Vishal Kaith

DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Emiliano Alfaro

Amul Fittest Player: Adil Khan

Emerging Player: Ashique Kuruniyan

Hero of the Match: Marcelinho

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