FC Pune City
Shree Shiv Sports Complex, Pune
3rd November 2014, 19:00 IST
Two teams with contrasting fortunes will take on each other at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium on Monday when FC Pune City face NorthEast United FC. Pune, who succumbed to a 2-1 loss at the hands of Kerala Blasters on Thursday, have endured a stuttering start to their Indian Super League (ISL) campaign and presently find themselves in the bottom half of the table with four points from as many games.
On the other hand, NorthEast United are near the top of the standings with eight points from five outings, following their goalless draw with Delhi Dynamos FC on Wednesday. Hence, Monday’s fixture is important for both the franchises, who will look to pick up the full three points to push up the table.
Team News and Tactical Brief:
FC Pune City
The Maharashtra outfit have thus far won just a single game in the ISL, a 2-0 win over bottom club FC Goa on 26th October. However, the victory came as a result of a brilliant strike from Kostas Katsouranis, coupled with a defensive lapse, which allowed David Trezeguet to score in the dying moments of the match. FC Pune City boss Franco Colomba’s biggest concern is that is side are yet to function as a cohesive unit. Pune, who are shaky at the back, are also finding it hard to create decent chances at the other end of the pitch. FC Pune City’s miseries escalated further when former Juventus goalkeeper Emanuele Belardi picked up an injury and had to be replaced against Kerala. But on the flip side, Trezeguet has been in good form after scoring in consecutive matches. And Coloba will bank on the ex-France international to deliver the goods once against versus a good NorthEast United side.
Probable Starting XI (4-4-2): Emanuele Belardi, Bruno Cirillo, Daniele Magliocchetti, Dharmaraj Ravanan, Pritam Kotal, Lenny Rodrigues, Ashutosh Mehta, Israil Gurung, Kostas Katsouranis, Ivan Bolado, David Trezeguet
NorthEast United FC
Rickie Herbert’s side are pretty compact at the back, as shown in their 0-0 stalemate against Delhi Dynamos on Wednesday. NorthEast United FC have thus far kept three clean sheets in five games, but their main problem is scoring goals. Four goals in five games is not enough by any stretch of imagination, with the Highlanders having the worst record in front of goal amongst the top-four franchises of the ISL. The likes of James Keene and Durga Boro are finding it hard to break down rival defences, with midfielder Koke, who missed the game against Delhi, being their most influential player till now. The Spaniard is expected to feature at the Sports Complex Stadium and will look to add more goals to his tally, which currently has two. NorthEast United FC’s marquee signing Joan Capdevilla is also likely to return to his side’s starting line-up after missing out on their previous outing.
Probable Starting XI (4-5-1): Rehnesh TP, Aiborlang Khongjee, Miguel Garcia, Joan Capdevilla, Robin Gurung, Kondwani Mtonga, Zodingliana Ralte , Do Dong-hyun, Koke, James Keene, Durga Boro
FC Pune City 0-1 NorthEast United FC
It will be a keenly contested game in Pune, but visitors NorthEast United FC are slight favourites to edge out Colomba’s side.