In sport, we often come across Devon Loch moments. And Pune FC Coach Derrick Pereira wants to make sure that if such an occurrence befalls his team, they have done everything right to pounce on the rare opportunity.
On the eve of their 24th Round I-league encounter against ONGC at the Ambedkar Stadium on Sunday (April 14, 2013), Pereira said: “Mathematically we are still in the hunt. That stays the motivation for the boys. We are all professionals and are here to get the best result. So I am optimistic. We need to win all our matches and we are working hard to achieve that. We need to put our best foot forward and the boys are training assiduously for that. The rest is not in our hands. But at least if such an opportunity comes our way, we should not let that go.”
Pereira’s Pune are now placed fourth in the points table with 37 points from 21 matches, 10 points behind leaders Churchill Brothers who have played a game extra. Prayag United are third playing three matches more and having 38 points from their 24, while East Bengal are sitting second with 42 in their kitty from 24 outings.
“We need to win all our matches and hope that Churchill loses three. They have couple of tough matches against Dempo and Mohun Bagan. Nothing is impossible in sport,” added the Pune FC Coach.
Pereira though is aware of the fact that ONGC have made the Ambedkar Stadium their fortress.
“They have been very good at home and we are expecting a tough contest on the morrow. They are a young side with some quality players. Santosh (Kashyap) also has done a good job with the side. But having said that we have worked on their weaknesses and if we play to our potential, we can get the better of them in their own backyard,” Pereira concluded.
Pune will be without the services of left back Gurjinder Kumar who is nursing a groin injury. N Mohanraj will take his place.
ONGC are currently placed seventh with 30 points from 23 matches. But what has brought the I-League side into limelight is their remarkable form at home. ONGC have not lost a game at home since the last year November when they were beaten by Air India, 2-4.
(AIFF Press Release)