East Bengal will be happy with a draw as they take on Pune FC in their I-League opener in Pune on Saturday.
Down and out after the humiliation in the IFA Shield and Durand Cup,the red-and-golds have got the Bhaichung-boost ahead of this tournament. But it will be an uphill task even for the Indian captain to get his team back to the winning ways. Also,Bhaichung Bhutia is not 100 per cent fit. He hasnt played for nearly a month and is nursing a strained hamstring. But his presence will definitely be a big factor. He is likely to pair up with Subhas Singh upfront.
East Bengal coach Subhas Bhowmick talked logic when he said that the idea would be to return with at least one point. Pressure would less as we are playing an away match. I want to mix caution with aggression. We have to keep our defence tight,and we have to capitalise on the chances that will come our way, Bhowmick said on the match eve.
Pune FC will be making their debut in the I-League this year. Their biggest strength is goalkeeper Subrata Paul who may have a point or two to prove against his old club. Nigerian Chika Wali is their mainstay in the rearguard,while Brazilian striker Edmar Figueira will pose a threat to opposition defence if fed properly by playmaker Douhou Djidja. In Derrick Pereira,they have a very experienced coach who can play a very important role with his tactical acumen.
Pune FC could be a tough nut to crack in their lair.