With the top position of the table at stake, two resolute outfits are ready to lock horns in a midweek fixture.In a high-profile clash of the I-League, Pune FC is set to host Bengaluru FC in an round nine encounter at the Balewadi Sports Complex on Wednesday.
The hosts suffered their first loss last weekend when Sporting Clube de Goa downed them 2-0, while Bengaluru FC also failed to garner all three points as they shared the spoils with Mumbai FC.
Pune FC has been one of the few teams that have a solid defense and the fact they have conceded only three goals in the first six matches bears a testament to the fact. Mike Snoei will be relieved as his star defender Calum Angus is ready to feature in the starting eleven once again after going out of action in the last match with a knock. Winger James Meyer is also back in contention after missing out the last two games due to injury. The Red Lizards, however, will be deprived of their first choice goalkeeper Amrinder Singh who was sent-off, paving the way for Shahinlal Meloly to get his share of first team action.
On the other hand, Bengaluru had a dream start to the campaign as they notched up four victories in their first five matches, though all of them at home. The new entrants of the league, however, haven't had a great run of results on the road as they have picked up just a point from a possible six in their last two matches.
"It’s going to be a great game, a top three clash. It’s a game between two teams who are having a good season and who like to play an entertaining game," said Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood.
"We are obviously disappointed with the way the game (draw against Mumbai FC) unfolded but I’ve always told the boys that we will have our emotions in check – win or lose. We are a new side and there’s absolutely no pressure on the team."With goalkeeper Pawan Kumar and defender Curtis Osano doubtful for the match, young custodian Bruno Colaco and ex-Pune FC defender N.S. Manju could retain their places after starting against Mumbai FC.
Pune are fourth on the table of the table with 13 points while Bengaluru have 14 having played out one fixture more. With only a point separating the two teams, Bengaluru have the chance to regain pole position while three points will place the hosts in the second spot.
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