The Goan side will be up against the team who have the best defensive record in the I-League, in a top of the table clash on Friday afternoon...This round 10 encounter will be a battle between two in-form teams for the top spot. Salgaocar FC, with 17 points from eight matches, are just a point ahead of Pune FC who have a game in hand. Nonetheless, both teams share the highest number of wins (five) and lowest number of defeats (one) in this season.
With the Green and Whites leading the table after nine rounds, coach Derrick Pereira is keen to establish a gap at the top given that Pune FC are breathing down their neck being just a point behind and with a game in hand.
“I want my team to do well. Of course I was involved with Pune FC for four years and now I am with Salgaocar, so there is a different feeling. Wherever I go, I give my hundred percent which is what I did at Pune FC as well. This is a fresh game. There are players there who played under me at Pune and I want Salgaocar to do well in this game especially. For me, it is any other game. However it is important game for us as a team given that they have one match in hand and are just below us,” he said.
There is also some good news for Salgaocar fans as Nicolau Colaco is recovering in time to make it for the weekend clash after suffering an ankle injury in the last game against Rangdajied United. Also, Matthew Foschini, the Australian recruit, is expected to debut for the club in the I-League.
Although Pune FC have conceded less than half the number of goals as compared to any of their competitors in the league, their weakness was exposed in the 2-0 defeat to Sporting Clube de Goa in an away match at the Duler stadium which Mike Snoei's men will be looking to rectify.
The Red Lizards' coach, Mike Snoei said, “We've had a fantastic preparation in Goa for four weeks. Nice to be back here. The last time though we lost, but these things do happen."
"The result (against Sporting Goa) was not good, but there were reasons for that. It's a forgotten thing. One moves on," he added.
If Pune FC have the meanest defence, having let in only three goals with five clean sheets, the Goans have the best attack in the league so far with 16 goals.
Both teams have played out a draw in a pre-season friendly at the same venue in August, but Pune FC hold the head-to-head record of winning all four previous meetings with the hosts in the I-League which calls for an exiting tie.
Pune FC have a 20-man squad at their disposal as they play back-to-back games in Goa (other being against Dempo SC). Defenders Calum Angus and Zohimngliana Ralte return to the squad and are joined by goalkeeper Amrinder Singh who is back after serving his one-game suspension.
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