The two teams will hope to win three points and thereby put pressure on league leaders in the business end of the season...
Pune FC and Salgaocar FC would be keen to add three crucial points to their tally when they come face-to-face in a round 24 I-League encounter at the Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Friday.
The Red Lizards have just one victory to their name from 14 matches in all competitions. Coach Mike Snoei will be keen to end this poor run of form if they have any hopes of winning their maiden league title or even finish in the top three.
It must be noted that when the two teams last met, Salgaocar dominated the proceedings and should have won the tie only to be held to a 1-1 draw. Pune were handed three points by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) due to Salgaocar fielding ineligible players.
Anas Edathodika will be missing the tie due to an injury alongwith Lalrempuia Fanai.
“In our previous I-League game against leaders Bengaluru FC, we proved that our team has the quality to battle against one of the best. If we can kick our performance up a notch compared to the Bengaluru game, we can get a good result against Salgaocar and keep the title-race open,
“We are very lucky to have three home games at the end of the season and we need to take advantage of them,” said Snoei.
Derrick Pereira will look to down Pune FC in order to boost their title chances. It must be noted that he coached the side until last summer from 2009 and is well aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the Pune squad.
“The AFC matches have definitely disrupted them (PFC) and the team is in transition. The squad is being rotated, so there is a lot changes. I don’t know what to expect,” said Pereira.
The Greens shall miss the services of Rahul Kumar and Nicolau Colaco and it will be interesting to see who he fields in the left-back slot. Caitano Costa is ineligible for the tie as he is on-loan with Salgaocar from Pune FC.
In the last two matches, Salgaocar have only scored a goal and Pereira would hope that his strike partnership of Darryl Duffy and Dudu Omagbemi find their scoring touch on Friday.