The Red Lizards will hope to end their AFC Cup campaign on a high by registering a victory over the Hong Kong champions...
Pune FC have no chance of making it into the next stage of the AFC Cup and will only look to pick a win in order to end their continental sojourn on a high.
They host Hong Kong’s Kitchee SC in a final round Group-H encounter at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex, in Pune on Tuesday.
Their opponents have already qualified as winners of the group while Pune FC are placed at the bottom of their cluster with three points to show.
It must be noted that when the two teams clashed back in March, Pune FC came back after being down by two goals to pick a point from the fixture.
Kitchee come into the tie on the back of a 19-game unbeaten streak in all competitions.
Coach Chu Chi Kwong said, “This is the second time we are coming to Pune. Last year we played here during the same month and we have some experience of the conditions and the pitch here.”
“Our team has already qualified for the next round but we will give a good performance because we don’t want to lose,” he further added.
Speaking about the hosts, Kwong said, “Pune FC are a good team. They have few good players like the Australian (Mirjan Pavlovic) and the Dutch player (Riga Mustapha).”
Kitchee skipper Lo Kwan Yee said his team won’t take the game lightly, “We are serious about the game. Despite having qualified for the next round, we want to win this game.”
Pune FC’s form has been woeful to say the least, having won just two matches in the last 24 matches in all competitions.
Pune FC Coach Mike Snoei said, “Our away game against Kitchee (earlier in the competition) was our best performance. We played an unbelievable second half and had a few chances to win it at the end. We have good memories of the game.”
He further added, “Now, we must try and get a good win for the club for a good end (to the season).”
Gabriel Fernandes who was stretchered off and Douhou Pierre who had to be substituted around the hour mark in their last game against East Bengal will be unavailable for the tie due to injuries. Calum Angus is suspended after picking up his second booking in the last game against Nay Pyi Taw.
Speaking about the team, Snoei said, “We can play dominant football, but we need our best players for it. We might have a different midfield due to injuries but they (Kitchee) too have a few players missing. These things happen towards the end of the season. But we still have a good group of players.”