Pune FC seek revenge as they face arch-rivals Mumbai FC in an I-League Round 19 ‘away’ encounter at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi in Pune on Saturday.
The second-leg of the encounter dubbed as the ‘Maha-Derby’ is crucial for Pune FC after going down 1-2 in the first-leg to the state-rivals. In fact, that loss was the only one that Pune FC has suffered at the Balewadi Stadium in the I-League this season.
However, Pune FC has a lot to look up to going into the game. For starts, Mumbai FC’s home-form this season hasn’t been too good. One win, five draws and three losses so far has seen them pick up only eight out of a possible 27 points.
Add to that, Pune FC have never lost an ‘away’ game against Mumbai FC at the Balewadi Stadium since they have been based in Pune.
Moreover, Pune FC (28pts) sitting third on the table, will look for a win against tenth placed Mumbai FC (18 pts) to boost their position in the standings.
Going into the game, Mumbai FC have failed to log a win in any of their last seven games playing out four draws since December. In fact, their last win came against Pune FC in the first leg of this encounter.
This is something Pune FC will have at the back of their mind.
Mumbai FC’s forgetful Federation Cup campaign earlier this year was followed by consecutive 1-1 draws against United SC (in Kalyani) and Bengaluru FC (in Bengaluru) in the I-League post the midseason break.
Since both teams met the last time, Mumbai FC hasn’t undergone any major changes. The only change is the addition of foreigners Ebi Sukore and Alfred Jaryan in place of Sandjar Ahmadi and Haroon Amiri. The rest of the squad remains the same.
On the other hand, Pune FC go into the game after a 2-2 draw against Myanmar-side Nay Pyi Taw FC in the AFC Cup 48-hours back. The draw followed positive results against Sporting Goa (1-1) and Mohammedan SC (2-0) at home.
Speaking after an evening training session at the Balewadi Stadium, Pune FC Coach Mike Snoei said, “We want some revenge. We still remember the last game. We played well, but they (Mumbai FC) won it. It’s also about the results.”
He further added, “We need to win tomorrow to stay in the race for winning a trophy this season. It’s a heavy schedule now with a lot of fixtures. It’s a very important game and the players are looking forward to it.”
Speaking about the team Snoei said, “Riga is a doubt for tomorrow. Anas and Arata are both out with injuries. But we have seen other players stepping up in their absence which is a good sign. So it is going to be a healthy fight for some players to get back into the team.”
Over the years, both teams have met ten times in all competitions with Pune FC having the upper hand boasting 4 wins compared to Mumbai FC’s three. At the Balewadi Stadium, Pune FC once again has the advantage with three wins compared to Mumbai FC’s one in seven games.
The match kicks off at 19.00 IST. Live Streaming will be available here at www.chrispd.de!