Pune begin run of home games with a ‘crucial’ game against the visitors from the North East..
FC Pune City face a battle against NorthEast United FC in the third edition of the Indian Super League on Wendesday.
The FC Pune City team go into the game with great confidence, after turning their fortunes around with a last minute 2-1 away win at FC Goa on Saturday night. Arata Izumi and Momar N’Doye were the goalscorers for the side from Pune that night.
NorthEast United’s progress on the other hand was stunted by a determined Mumbai City team in their first away fixture of the season. The side, coached by Nelo Vingada have had a very solid start to the season prior to the defeat to Mumbai, winning both their opening fixtures, maintaining a clean sheet in each game. The match will be the second of North East’s three away games in a row.
Both teams go into Wednesday’s game with no fresh injuries from their travels.
Fatigue, though could be a slight problem for both teams. NEUFC will already be playing their fourth game pf the season, and their second one away from home. Meanwhile, FC Pune City too are participating in their third game after a tiring game in humid conditions in Goa, and with only 3 days’ rest in between their last game and the next.
Whether Northeast defender Mailson Alves will be back is still an uncertainty.
Head to Head
Over the past couple of seasons, both teams have had relatively disappointing campaigns, failing to qualify for the top 4 on each occasion. So the teams have only faced each other in the league, where Pune hold a 2-1 advantage over their Northeastern rivals, with the other game being a draw.
Pune have won both their games at their home ground of the Balewadi Sports Complex, incidentally winning both fixtures by a solitary 1-0 advantage. This could act as a psychological advantage for The Stallions.
Man to Watch
Jonatan Lucca-FC Pune City: After a brilliant performance in midfield against former side FC Goa on Saturday, Lucca will be looking to build on it and take it to the next level. The Brazilian put in a great shift and his midfield partnership with Momo Sissoko is something that will excite all Pune fans. Their combination could set Pune up very well for the whole tournament and Lucca’s performance in midfield against North East could very well be the deciding factor after the 90 minutes.
Emiliano Alfaro-NorthEast United FC: For the Highlanders, Alfaro has been the star man upfront. He stole the show in the team’s second game of the season, scoring a brace in a 2-0 win over FC Goa. His first was gifted to him through his relentless running and graft and the second was made by a sumptuous assist by Holicharan Narzary. The Uruguayan will continue to be the danger man for the visitors, aided ably by Yusa Katsumi and Nico Velez.
FC Pune City: (4-5-1) Edel, Bheke, Gourmangi, Ferreira, Das, Izumi, Lucca, Sissoko, Ravanan, Tato, Zurdo.
NorthEast United FC: (4-1-4-1) Paul, Singh, Lazzaretti, Zokora, Gurung, Borges, Velez, N’dri, Yusa, Singh, Alfaro.
The match will be teleacast live on Star Sports 2, HD2, Star Sports 1, HD1, Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Jalsha Movies, Jalsha Movies HD and Hotstar. You can also follow Live text commentary of the game on Khelnow.com.
Preview by Khel Now Correspondent from Pune Miqdad Haider.