Both teams need a win to climb up the table…
FC Pune City face off against visitors FC Goa in the Indian Super League on Thursday.
Both teams go into the game knowing that anything other than a win could spell total disaster on their respective campaigns. The Goans arrive in Maharashtra on the back of a dismal season. The finalists from last season have failed to replicate their performances and find themselves at the bottom of the standings midway through the season. Goa have lost five and won just one of their seven games.
The home team too haven’t had the smoothest of times in the league so far but improvements in their performances have given the fans hope of climbing up the table. Pune too have won only one game so far this season, but they have lost only twice and played a game lesser than their opponents for Thursday.
The Pune team should have all its players fit and available for this crucial encounter as Pitu and Lenny Rodrigues are also expected to be back in contention for a place in the side. The Stallions last played a week ago and with games coming thick and fast, a week’s rest should have greatly helped the side prepare.
Even for FC Goa, the full complement of players is expected to be fit and available but as to who gets in to the side remains a mystery. In their last game, a 2-0 loss at home to Delhi Dynamos, The Gaurs had made five changes to their starting XI in hopes of turning their results around. (To no avail of course.) Brazillian Lucio should be back in the side for their visit to Pune.
Head to Head
FC Pune City won the reverse fixture early in the season as they ran out 2-1 winners. Arata Izumi’s goal and a Momar N’Doye’s late winner sealed the deal on the day. Overall too, the home team hold the advantage, having won twice while losing once to the Gaurs.
Man to Watch
Jonatan Lucca-FC Pune City: The Brazilian midfielder has been one of the standout performers for the Pune side so far this season and he should be geared up to face his old team again. In his side’s 2-1 away win, Lucca had played a crucial role, indirectly providing the assist for Arata’s opener. Whether Lucca plays as an attacking midfielder or in a more defensive position, his presence in midfield could be the difference between the two sides.
Julio Cesar- FC Goa: Goals have been hard to come by for the team co-owned by Virat Kohli. The Gaurs’ frontline has so far failed to find a leader but veteran striker Julio Cesar might just be the man to turn things around for them. The striker who scored against Kerala Blasters will hope for a similar impact personally and a better result for his side.
FC Pune City: (4-1-3-2) Edel, Bheke, Ravanan, Ferreira, Das, Sissoko, Pradhan, Lucca, Izumi, Tato, Traore
FC Goa: (4-3-3) Chowdhury, Sanjay, Lucio, Dumas, Gaikwad, Desai, Jofre, Felisbino, Cesar, Singh, Coelho
The match will be telecast live on Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Sports 4, Star Sports HD4, 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.
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.