The Pune Football Club (PFC),now in Goa for their league match against Dempo SC,will face an uphill battle as they try to outplay the league leaders in their match on Sunday. PFC,riding high with success in their campaigns against Air India two weeks back,slipped in their last two games that cost them heavily in terms of their position in the table. Also,injuries to key players Jeje Lalpekhlua and Abhra Mondal have done them no good. The teams style of playing was affected as was evident in their match against Shillong Lajong FC and their shocking loss to Sporting Clube De Goa on Wednesday that ended their 11- match unbeaten streak.
Mondals absence was felt when Amarinder let go two soft goals that cost PFC the game after leading 2-0. PFC coach Derrick Pereira said,Its sad that Mondal will be out for some time. Ever since he joined us,he is been a part of the success and I am sure he will be back in action soon.
While the coach is optimistic about Mondals return after a successful surgery on his cracked shin,stand-in goalkeeper Amrinder Singh will have to work hard to ensure that Dempo do not undermine PFC defence in the initial stages of the game.
StrikerJeje,out for eight weeks with a strained ligament,will be missed on Sunday. He had suffered a strained ligament after colliding with Air-India goalkeeper Pawan Kumar two weeks back. PFC physio Tariq Shaikh said,The collision was strong and Jeje jerked his knee on the medial side and needed expert opinion. A review will be done after three weeks based on which a necessary rehab schedule will be drawn.
A visibly disappointed Jeje said,As a player,being out of the action owing to injury is the worst thing to happen. But I have to deal with it.
The Sunday match against Dempo SC will be played at JN Stadium in Fatorda. While the challenge is uphill,PFC can still look at the positives. The form of the mid-field as reflected in the last match against Sporting Clube De Goa is a positive sign. Also,the form of striker Mandjou Keita is a plus point. Sitting right on top with 40 points,Dempo look a formidable side to beat. PFC slipped to seventh position from fifth on the league table with 27 points.