FC Pune City, sans suspended coach Ranko Popovic, will look to replicate their away form at home when they host NorthEast United in the Indian Super League (ISL) season four on Saturday. Pune entered top four of the ISL standings with away wins against FC Goa, Jamshedpur FC and defending champions ATK in the fourth season of the league.
The only time they won at home was against Mumbai City in Balewadi. Otherwise, their form has been patchy as they have lost three of their four matches so far. Come tomorrow, FC Pune City under assistant coach Vladica Grujic will look to change that statistic at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium.
NorthEast United FC, on the other hand, have been languishing at the ninth position in the table with four losses and a draw. The only victory they achieved this season was against Delhi Dynamos FC. Grujic said: “We have lost two games at home (consecutively) but everyone knows that, with a little bit of luck, we could win too. The team is doing well and we have gotten better with every game. We don’t have to think about what happened in the past.”
NorthEast United have just four points from their six matches so far but Grujic said they can’t take the visitors lightly. “They have four points but if you watch the games, they could have had many more. The team plays good football and tomorrow we will be facing a strong opponent,” said Grujic.
NorthEast United have done well in patches and coach Joao de Deus said his boys looked an organised team apart from the match against Chennai. “If you see our games, you can see an organised team. You see a team that defends well. If you remove the game in Chennai where we conceded three goals, where I fielded a player who was sick and in a very bad condition, it’s difficult to score against us. If you score, it’s a bonus that we offer,” said the Portuguese.