Steve Coppell’s men full of confidence following first win of the season.
FC Pune City face a battle against Kerala Blasters in the third edition of the Indian Super League on Monday.
The home team FC Pune City prepare for this game knowing another disappointing result at home could spell curtains very early for their season. The Pune team have been lethargic in their games so far, especially at home (Three games into the season FC Pune City continue to be besieged by problems) but the visit of Kerala Blasters offers a chance to reverse the story as they seek their first points at home.
The visitors, meanwhile come into the game full of confidence after securing a 1-0 victory against Mumbai City FC at home; Michael Chopra the goal scorer on the occasion. The Blasters, though, have only scored the solitary goal so far in the four games that they have played. (Three of them at home).
As the league table starts to take shape with every passing game, it promises to be an interesting battle between 6th and 7th.
The visitors from Kerala are expected to go into the game with an unchanged side in a bid to continue their winning momentum. Centre-back Cedric Hengbart, who almost missed the last game with a groin injury is expected to continue to partner Aaron Hughes in the centre of the backline.
The Stallions will sorely miss the defensive expertise of Eduardo Ferreira, who was sent off in Pune’s previous encounter against NorthEast United FC. Also late reports suggest that Lenny is out with fever. Francis Fernandes will start in his place. The home team have also had a longer rest period than their visitors who will be playing their second game in three days. This could prove to be a helping hand for a team desperate for all three points.
Head to Head
In the games played between the two sides so far, the Sachin Tendulkar co-owned team hold a 3 wins to 1 advantage over Pune. Although, Pune’s solitary win did come at the Balewadi Sports Complex almost a year ago, with the scoreline being 3-2.
Kerala Blasters’ striker Mohammed Rafi had scored a brace that night.
Man to Watch
Dramane Traore-FC Pune City:The big man up front was signed last week, as a replacement for Eidur Gudjohnsen. Although the Malian has only featured for his new side in short cameo appearances, Traore could just be the man to spark life into the Pune attack. After a quiet game for fellow striker Anibal Zurdo, Traore could be in line for a start against Kerala. So far, he has been a presence in the box, using his height and strength to trouble defences.
Michael Chopra-Kerala Blasters: The Englishman who failed to open his account in his first 12 games for the club, finally scored his first ever goal in India against Mumbai City FC, neatly placing a shot from a sharp chance. The striker, who has long admitted his desire to play for India, will now be on the prowl for more goals and could be the danger man as far as the Blasters are concerned.
FC Pune City (4-1-3-2): Edel, Bheke, Ravanan, Gourmangi, Das, Sissoko, Izumi, Lucca, Josep Maria, Tato, Traore.
Kerala Blasters (4-3-3): Nandy (GK); Jhingan, Hengbart, Hughes (C), Josu; Rafique, Hossain, Mahamat,Rafi, Chopra, Belfort
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.
Photo © ISL Media
Preview by Khel Now- correspondent Miqdad. Miqdad is a Liberal Arts student from Pune. A Liverpool fan he’s probably busy watching a sport or writing. You can follow him on Twitter.