Antonio Habas returns to the touchline for the hosts.
FC Pune City face off against visitors Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League on Sunday.
FC Pune City will be pleased to have chief coach Antonio Habas in the dugout for their home clash against Chennaiyin FC on Sunday but still need to figure out how to avoid their worst start to a Hero Indian Super League campaign since inception.
The team in Orange and Purple have another fixture at home, their fourth in five games. Although their record at home so far has been somewhat disastrous, gaining only one point (A 1-1 draw with Kerala Blasters in the last game) in the three played so far. After finally scoring a goal at home through marquee Mohamed Sissoko, Pune will be hoping for their first win at home.
Chennaiyin, led by Marco Materazzi are coming to the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune in high spirits, after beating NorthEast United FC on the other side of the country only 3 days ago. They sit pretty in third spot, having won two and drawn one of their opening four games.
For the home team, the biggest news will be the availability of their charismatic head coach Antonio Habas on the sidelines. The coach, who has spent the season in the stands so far due to prior suspension, will be able to keep an eye on proceedings from the touchline. In terms of players, Pitu’s availability for this game remains a doubt as he had been touted to be recovering for a week. Everyone else, including marquee Sissoko should be fit and available.
Chennaiyin FC in their previous game decided to rest John Arne Riise, opting to start with Bernard Mendy instead. Mendy put in an admirable performance whilst captaining the side so it will be interesting to see whether Riise slots back in or must wait for his chance. Otherwise, Marco Materazzi still has the full complement to choose from.
Head to Head
In the head to head between the two sides so far, The Mariners have dominated their hosts, winning three out of the four games they’ve played against one and other. Chennaiyin, in fact, managed to do the double over Pune last season. With no wins at home so far, the signs look ominous for Pune.
Man to Watch
Jeje Lalpekhlua-Chennaiyin FC The Indian striker has grown in strides over the past year, especially for his club side Mohun Bagan and the Indian national team. He has often taken up the mantle of providing the crucial goals for his sides. Having already been a hugely influential player at Chennaiyin over the first two seasons, Jeje could come to the party at the ground where he plied his trade with Pune FC in the I-League.
Dramane Traore-FC Pune City: The big man upfront was signed as a replacement for Eidur Gudjohnsen. Although the Malian has only started one game so far, Traore could just be the man to spark life into the Pune attack. He provides the team with a target to aim for in the box and his strengths could work well for the Pune setup. Traore scored a decent header against Kerala only for it to be ruled offside. So far, he has been a real presence, using his height and strength to trouble defences..
FC Pune City (4-1-3-2): Edel, Bheke, Ravanan, Gourmangi, Das, Sissoko. Arias, N’Doye, Izumi, Tato, Traore.
Chennaiyin FC: (4-3-2-1) (4-3-3):Karanjit Singh, Wadoo, Mendy, Sabia, Jerry, Augusto, Hanghal, Mulder, Jeje, Peluso, Success.
The match will be telecast live on Star Sports 4, 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.