Both teams are in need of a win…
Chennaiyin FC welcome fifth-placed FC Pune City to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Tuesday night as they hope to bounce back after a rather forgettable run of games in the Indian Super League. Both teams are desperate for a positive result, with the hosts being the most desperate as Tuesday’s showdown will take place on their own turf.
Coming off three draws and two losses, the Marina Machans now face an uphill task as they aspire to qualify for the knockout stages for the third consecutive season. With just 10 points in nine outings, Marco Materazzi needs to avoid a third consecutive defeat at all costs.
The Stallions, on the other hand, had a nightmarish start to their campaign, winning just a single game in the first seven. However, coach Antonio Habas has masterminded two back-to-back wins as City now sit just a single point adrift of the playoffs.
Hans Mulder, who came off the bench in Chennaiyin’s 1-3 humiliation at the hands of southern rivals Kerala Blasters, will hope to make the starting lineup whilst Thoi Singh, Maurizio Peluso, and Karanjit Singh will also be vying for a place. Dudu Omagbemi has come under intense scrutiny, with his hold up play not producing the results the Chennaiyin manager hankers for. Whether they retain their three-man defense or revert to the 4-1-3-2 setup remains to be seen, though.
The visitors, on the other hand, will likely name an unchanged lineup, with Habas’ current starting eleven vanquishing this season’s giants in Atletico de Kolkata and Mumbai City on the trot. Skippered by marquee player Mohammed Sissoko, they will likely keep their winning formula: 3-5-2.
Head to Head
The visitors have a poor record against the hosts, with the latter emerging victors on three occasions in five meetings; the other two games saw the teams share the spoils. Games between these sides have averaged 2.4 goals per game, with the defending champions claiming 67 percent of those.
The reverse fixture ended in a 1-1 draw, with Indian internationals Lenny Rodrigues and Jeje Lalpekhlua making the score sheet.
Man to Watch
Chennaiyin FC- Maurizio Peluso: The Italian has been unjustly overlooked by his compatriot in the Chennaiyin boss, with Dudu often getting the nod instead of him; however, the Nigerian’s incompetency was exposed in Kochi as he struggled in front of goal. With Raphael Augusto lacking outlets down the flanks, incorporating him with the lineup will definitely act in Chennaiyin’s favour.
FC Pune City-Mohammed Sissoko: Unlike Chennaiyin, City have managed to sign a marquee player whose professional career is far from over. Sitting in front of the five-man rock-solid defence – City boast the best defensive record in the division this season – he has been a threat going forward as well as in defence. The Augusto-Sissoko battle is definitely one to watch.
Chennaiyin FC: Karanjit; Wadoo, Mendy, Eli Sabia, Riise, Lalrinzuala; Mulder, Augusto, Sahni; Rane, Jeje, Peluso
FC Pune City: Bete; Bheke, Fernandes, Ferreira, Gouramangi, Das; Sissoko, Rodrigues, Lucca; Traore, Rodriguez
The match will be telecast live on Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD2, Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Jalsha Movies, Jalsha Movies HD, and Hotstar.
You can also follow Khel Now’s live text commentary of the game, with our ISL correspondent Praveen R. Paramasivam reporting things as they happen from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Photo © ISL Media
Preview by Khel Now Correspondent from Chennai Praveen R. Paramasivam