After a couple of draws in Goa,Pune FC will hope to help themselves to three points on home soil as they host United SC in the 12th round of the I-League at the Balewadi sports complex on Sunday.
Pune FC over the past two rounds locked out with back-to-back away draws against Salgaocar FC and Dempo SC under tough conditions. The results have made an effect on Pune FCs standings with them at present occupying the third position on the league table.
Pune FC Coach Mike Snoei said sometimes a side needed to be content with a point,but the coach believed that his side had to step up their game. At present,Pune FC are on 18 points and share a three-way tie,along with Salgaocar FC and Bengaluru FC,for the top-spot. However,by virtue of goal difference,Pune FC is at the third position.
Having missed out on climbing to the summit on two occasions,Pune FC with consecutive home games in the schedule will want to make the most of the home support. The fact that Pune FC has won all four home games this season,while keeping clean sheets,is enough motivation for them to look ahead when they face their opponents from Kolkata on Sunday.
Moreover,Pune FC has never lost to United SC in an I-League home encounter over four seasons,having logged three wins and a draw.
I am looking forward to the game. It is against a fellow Dutchman (Eelco Schattorie),and it will be quite interesting, said Snoei.
The visitors come into the game after a good run of results. Two wins and a draw helped them secure seven points from the last three games compared to Pune FC,who earned five points from an identical number of games.
Despite several high-profile players departing over summer,the United SC has managed to retain a few top players,while adding another few. At the heart of the visitors team is their foreign quartet.
Upfront,a total of nine goals have been contributed by Nigerian Ranti Martins,who has four to his name,and Liberian Eric Browns five. At the back,Nigerian Bello Rasaq and Syrian Hasan Moustafa have been marshaling the defence. Most of their Indian players continue to provide the consistency in their playing style that coach Schattorie has established with the likes of the hugely experienced defender and captain Deepak Mandal,with fellow defenders Dhanachandra Singh and Anupam Sarkar forming the teams rearguard. United SC will miss the services of experienced custodian Sangram Mukherjee,and young Ishan Debnath is expected to don the gloves.
For Pune FC,defender Denechandra Meitei and mid fielder Dhanpal Ganesh have been added to the 18-member squad in place of Othallo Tabia and Srikanth Ramu. Both teams have faced each other 14 times,with United SC winning six games. Pune FC has logged four wins with three of them coming at Balewadi.