THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Pune FC keen to end winless run against Salgaocar FC

Pune FC

Pune FC

Pune FC will be keen to move up in the table when they face Salgaocar FC in a crucial I-League Round 24 encounter at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Friday.

The clash between sixth placed Pune FC (31 pts) and second placed Salgaocar FC (34 pts) promises to be a cracker and will be an all important one for the home side for various reasons.

For starts, a win for Pune FC will change the dynamics at the top of the table. On the other hand, with only three rounds remaining, a slip up would prove costly.

Moreover, as former Coach Derrick Pereira – someone who knows the ins and outs of the club and the surrounds – will be facing Pune FC as a rival for the first time at the Balewadi Stadium, the hosts will need to be extra cautious.

Furthermore, with Pune FC having failed to log a win in the last few games, other teams have catched up making it a six-way race for the championship. Thus, Pune FC will be eager to arrest the slide while moving up the table.

Going into this crucial game, Pune FC will take confidence from their dominant past record against the Goan side.

Despite going down 2-5 to Tampines Rovers in the AFC Cup at home during the midweek, Pune FC dominated the game for extended periods. However, failure to capitalise on chances cost Pune FC dear, something they will avoid to repeat.

A week back, Pune FC came out hard from two losses to hold leaders Bengaluru FC to a draw in their previous I-League game and Coach Mike Snoei expects similar performance from his team against Salgaocar.

“In our previous I-League game against leaders Bengaluru FC, we proved that our team has the quality to battle against one of the best. If we can kick our performance up a notch compared to the Bengaluru game, we can get a good result against Salgaocar and keep the title-race open,” said the Dutch Coach.

Snoei also wants his team to move on from the previous game against Tampines and believes that out of the four remaining fixtures, the three at home will come handy.

“We are very lucky to have three home games at the end of the season and we need to take advantage of them,” he further added.

The visitors too come into the game after two disappointing results at home, a goalless draw against United SC followed by a 1-2 loss against Rangdajied United, something Pune FC will be keen to capitalise on.

Upfront, the Goans’ will be heavily relying on the attacking duo of Scottish striker Daryll Duffy (11 goals) and Nigerian attacker Dudu Omagbemi (4 goals). Supporting them from the midfield will be Gilbert Oliveira who has chipped in with another five goals along with Francisco Fernandes.

At the back, Salgaocar’s defense will be led by ex-Pune FC player Chika Wali along with Aussie Matthew Foschini.

On Pune FC’s team news front, in-form winger Anthony D’Souza will be facing his old team for the first time since switching loyalties in the summer, but the hosts will be missing services of injured defender Anas Edathodika and medio Lalrempuia Fanai.

The last time both sides met in November, they ended up playing a 1-1 draw, but Pune FC was awarded a 3-0 win due to the Goan side fielding ineligible players.

Over the years both sides have met eleven times with Pune FC boasting seven wins compared to Salgaocar’s three. However, in Pune the Goans have logged two wins compared to the Pune FC’s sole victory.

Thus win on the morrow will not only improve Pune FC’s overall record against the Goans but will also equalize the home record.