FC Pune City
Fatorda Stadium, Goa
22nd November 2014, 19:00 IST
FC Goa and FC Pune City will both be looking to climb up the Indian Super League (ISL) table when they take on each other at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Saturday. While Pune, who have failed to win their last three outings, are currently in a slump, Goa are on the rise after picking up five points from their previous three fixtures. However, both teams will be looking to come out victorious from the weekend’s fixture in view of boosting their chances of a top-four finish, with just three points separating the two franchises presently.
Team News and Tactical Brief:
After a disastrous start to their ISL campaign, which saw them pick up just four points from their opening six matches, FC Goa have managed to stem the rot somewhat recently. Zico’s side, who played out a goalless draw with Mumbai City FC on Monday, have not tasted defeat since their 1-0 loss to Kerala Blasters earlier in the month. The Reddes have since won one and drawn two games, which have helped the franchise to shed off their “last boy” tag in the ISL. However, FC Goa, who currently have nine points from as many games, three adrift of Pune, must not rest on their laurels as the race to finish in the top-four is getting hotter every passing day; and a loss against FC Pune City will surely put a huge spanner to Goa’s hopes of a play-off spot. The likes of Robert Pires, Tolgay Ozbey, Youness Bengelloun and Gregory Arnolin know all too well the importance of the full three points at this stage of the tournament, plus FC Goa will also be keen to avenge their 2-0 loss suffered in Pune last month.
FC Pune City
Since brushing aside Atletico de Kolkata 3-1 three rounds earlier, FC Pune City have struggled in the ISL. The Maharashtra outfit, who lost by the same margin to Chennaiyin FC on Wednesday, which incidentally helped the Southern franchise to dislodge Kolkata at the top of the ISL table for the first time since the start of the tournament by virtue of goal difference, have managed to pick up just two points from their last three matches. FC Pune City’s marquee player David Trezeguet has failed to hit the ground running since returning to the team after an injury lay-off, while fellow forward Dudu Omagbemi has also struggled in front of goal in recent matches. As a result, Pune manager Franco Colomba will rely heavily on Greece international Konstantinos Katsouranis and former Liverpool player Jermaine Pennant to deliver the goods against FC Goa. Bengal lad Arindam Bhattacharya is also expected to play a key role between the sticks for Pune at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Probable Starting XI: Arindam Bhattacharya, Pritam Kotal, Bruno Cirillo, Daniele Magliocchetti, Dharmaraj Ravanan, Lenny Rodrigues, Jermaine Pennant, Davide Colomba, Konstantinos Katsouranis, Israil Gurung, David Trezeguet
FC Goa 1 – 0 FC Pune City
Owing to their present form, the home side are slight favourites in this vital clash.