Raphael Augusto ran the midfield for Chennaiyin FC as Marco Materazzi's men picked up their first win in six matches of ISL 2016. Pune City just could not stay with Chennai's energy, with Antonio Lopez Habas' side crashing to a deserved defeat as a result.
Chennai's last win, prior to this fixture, came on October 20 in Guwahati, when they beat NorthEast United 1-0. After three draws and two losses since that victory, Chennaiyin were under pressure to pick up all three points in this home game against Pune.
Thanks to a first half header from Jeje Lalpekhlua and a goal from Davide Succi, Chennai got the victory they craved to move to fifth in the ISL 2016 table.
"I think it is good and we were disciplined to win the game," Chennaiyin defender Mehrajuddin Wadoo said. "It's been a long time we have not won a game, so everyone is excited and everyone gave their best."
While he did not score a goal, the best player on the pitch on Tuesday was Augusto, with the Brazilian dictating the pace of play in midfield while also setting Succi up for the second goal. Chennaiyin assistant manager Sabir Pasha was all praise for the midfielder.
"Raphael is such a player that you cannot control him," Pasha said. "He has so much talent and I think Marco has done a great job in getting his talent out. If you stick him to a job, then he has to do that and he gets restricted but (against Pune) he had a free role and he fitted in that, and you could see he changed the game.
"The people who were defending were more worried about Raphael more than Davide or Jeje. I think it is the best role for Raphael."
Pune's loss means they are sixth in the table and in increasing danger of missing out on a playoff spot, even if a small winning run, like they produced coming into this match, when they beat Atletico de Kolkata and Mumbai City, will get them back to where they need to be.
Habas, who has been criticised for playing a little too defensively, needs to make sure, though, that his players find that winning touch again as soon as possible.
"It is not about defensive tactics, but the first goal, which changed the match, as till that moment Chennaiyin did not attack and nothing had happened and after that everything changed," Habas said.
"So, we do not want to give any excuses. We are coming from two tough games and I've nothing much to say as Chennaiyin scored two goals and we did not."