Pune FC will look forward to open their away account when they take on defending champions Salgaocar Sports Club in an I-League (Round-9) encounter at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda today.
The game for Pune FC is the third in this edition of the league and one fact they desperately look forward to wipe-clean is the unforgettable experiences they had in the two matches before.
Pune FC has reasons aplenty to look up and believe on the eve of the game and it begins by remembering the last encounter against Churchill Brothers at Fatorda seven months back which they won and catapulted themselves to a Top 5 finish.
The other reason being the two-match winning streak (v Air-India and HAL) they carry forward into the game when they brace up with the Goans, who comparatively have drawn three successive matches.
Currently in eighth place on the league table, Pune FC has a task on hand against opponents who are fighting to improve upon the 10th place they currently occupy.
Coach Derrick Pereira, an ex-Salgaocar SC player himself, says, “We have to do well for sure. The two wins at home must be taken ahead and that is because our opponents are a good side.”
While the coach talks of a “fighting performance,” from his side to achieve points he does not rule out the fact that his rivals are a good side. “They are a set team with good players in their ranks and it will all boil down to who fights well till the end.”
Pune FC who had an early morning pre-match practice session will be back to full strength for the evening game after striker Jeje Lalpekhlua and central midfielder Baldeep Singh joined the team after completing National duty. Likewise, creative midfielder Douhou Pierre, who missed the last match due to a one-match suspension, returns to give the coach confidence.
The additions would give Derrick several options to choose from for his final playing eleven. Upfront Subash Singh, in Jeje’s absence, has scored, while Douhou’s inclusion will mean who among the four foreigners will sit out.
“The rest period has done the players a world good and they are looking forward to perform,” informed the coach.
On Salgaocar’s performance this year, the coach opined, “Their results have been in their favour, but otherwise they are fighting side.”
Thursday’s game will be the sixth meeting between the two sides, with Pune FC holding the edge winning three of which two have come in Goa. Salgaocar has won one game and never at home, while one match has ended in a draw.
FORM RUN (Last 5 matches)
Pune FC (8th, 11 points): W-W-L-L-L
Salgaocar SC (10th, 9 points): D-D-D-W-L
03/04/11 IL Pune FC 0-1 Salgaocar at Pune
29/12/10 IL Salgaocar 0-1 Pune FC at Goa
17/04/10 IL Pune FC 1-1 Salgaocar at Pune
17/01/10 IL Salgaocar 1-3 Pune FC at Goa
05/04/09 I2D Pune FC 1-0 Salgaocar at Gurgaon