The Dutch coach was pleased with the second half display against Kitchee in the midweek where they came out with a point…
In what a game of two halves, Pune FC managed to claw their way back against Hong Kong’s Kitchee SC after going 2-0 down in the first half only to score twice after the break.
Goals by Fernando Recio (29') and Juan Belencoso (43') gave the hosts a two goal advantage and it looked like it was enough to seal three points.
On being asked to analyse his team’s performance in the opening 45 minutes, Pune FC coach Mike Snoei mentioned that the wet field didn’t help his side as a couple of their players lost their footing in the opening minutes.
“I am happy (with the result). The first 45 minutes was completely Kitchee’s. We had big, big problems with the field. Even though the field was fantastic, the wet pitch for many Indian players’ is a problem because it is always dry where we play football. So they had to adapt and that was too slow.
“I must also say the other team played very well, especially the combination with the central defender Fernando Recio, the one who played in midfield, had a fantastic combination with number 10 (Lam Ka Wai) and number six (Gao Wen), and their striker Juan Belencoso, he had a fantastic strike. So we had to do something after the first 45 minutes and we made some changes.”
Snoei praised the performance of goalkeeper Amrinder Singh who pulled off a string of saves to keep his side in the game and explained what made the difference in the second half.
“We chose to press, it’s ok. It is little like the Dutch style of football, to press on the opponent. We are already two goals down, so you have to risk. It’s big risk of them going 3-0 up, but then if we can score a goal, they will get nervous and that is exactly what happened.
“It was two fantastic goals scored by us. Of course, they too got a few fantastic chances at the end, but our goalkeeper (Amrinder Singh) saved them. Then again, we also had a fantastic chance of going 3-2 up, but yes it was a perfect second half and hopefully the players get more confidence from out of this.”
Surprisingly Snoei left Australian striker Mirjan Pavlovic on the bench only to be brought in after the break and it took him not more than ten minutes to get on the scoresheet.
“Pavlovic just joined the team. He is not in the right fitness yet for playing 90 minutes. So I chose to start with (Mustapha) Riga and you can always bring him in. He is strong. He has a nose for scoring goals but I also know he can only do pressing for 45 minutes. His level of fitness must improve (and) we are working on that. Yes, he is getting better and better. Second half he showed he can be an improvement for us.”
Pune FC are in Singapore as they ready themselves to face Tampines Rovers on Wednesday in what will be their second away fixture on a trot. However they shall take heart from the fact that Kitchee downed the Singaporean side 5-0 last month.
“We just want to end in this group stage with a top-two finish. So, we really want to win the game in Singapore because we dropped points at home. We know the result that Kitchee got against them. We want to win and hopefully the boys can manage it,” said Snoei.
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