The hosts will look to get their title aspirations back on track against a struggling Sporting Clube de Goa, who are still adapting to their new coach's playing style...
Ramu, Edathodika, Wali, Gurujinder ;
Karma, Mumtaz, Douhou, Paite;
SPORTING CLUBE DE GOA
Samananda, Matthew, Lourenco, Borges;
Freiman, Kalu, Shirodkar, Martins;
Pune FC host their first game at Balewadi for almost a month, as they finally return to their stomping ground, after a long away trip.
In their last game in Kolkata, Prayag United ended the Red Lizards’ ten game unbeaten run with a 2-0 win, which halted the momentum the Pune based side was steadily building.
They do however still stay in the hunt for the title, 5 points away from Churchill Brothers and head into the clash against Sporting Clube de Goa as overwhelming favourites for the tie.
While there definitely are no easy games in the I-League, their recent good run, coupled with the poor form of the Flaming Oranje, who have won just once in 10 games, means it is difficult to see past the hosts as the expected winners.
The Flaming Oranje are still adapting to life under Oscar...
Sporting, another one of the sides to change their coach midway, are still adapting to the new style of play being implemented under Spaniard Oscar Burzon.
Upfront, the duo of Victorino Fernandes and Japanese import Seiya Sugishita will be expected to provide the fireworks, while Kalu Ogba remains their go-to man in midfield.
It is the defense that is in express need of shoring up, and the backline is not helped by the constant game of musical chairs behind them, with Bruno expected to be the fourth goalkeeper to start in-between the sticks for the Flaming Oranje this season.
James Moga, who had proven to be a thorn in the side of Pune FC last term, when he played for Sporting, will be looking to do the same to his ex-employers, who have failed to replace him effectively this season.
How the away side deal with his physicality might decide their fortunes in the game.
Pune FC – The Red Lizards will have to continue without the services of Jeje Lalpekhlua for the game against Sporting. Meanwhile, they have also made three changes to the squad that played in the last round. Goalkeeper Shahinlal Meloly, defender Zohmingliana Ralte and wing-half Vellington Rocha come in place of Amrinder Singh, Caitano Costa and N.Mohanraj.
Sporting Clube de Goa – Goalkeeper Bruno is set to get a start versus the Red Lizards. Dawson Fernandes remains sidelined, though Oscar Bruzon has no other injury worry of note.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- The last 5 games have seen Pune FC win and draw twice apiece and lose once in games between the two clubs.
- The loss against Prayag United was the first time Abhra Mondal has been a part of a losing cause with Pune FC, since he joined on loan last season.
- Sporting have kept only 3 cleansheets this season. All of them ended in a 0-0 draw.
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