FC Pune City
Balewadi Sports Complex,Pune
27 November 2015
After a dream start to this season’s ISL, FC Pune City will be wondering how they find themselves in 6th position with just 3 games to go. In a pivotal match for the Pune based franchise, David Platt will hope to marshal his troops to a win against Atletico de Kolkata and revive their hopes of finishing in the top four. For Atletico de Kolkata, three points would ascertain a play-off spot for last season’s champions.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Atletico de Kolkata
The hosts are in sublime form at the moment, with three wins and a draw in the last four outings, including a 4-0 demolition of FC Goa in the last match. A comprehensive win against the table toppers can do wonders to one’s confidence, and at this stage of the season, Antonio Habas will want to make the most of it by ripping apart Pune and bulldozing into the play-offs.
While Portuguese World Cupper Postiga is virtually ruled out of the tournament, Atletico de Kolkata do not seem to be too concerned as Jaime Gavilan, Sameehg Doutie and Iain Hume combining superbly up front.
Iain Hume is definitely the player everybody will be looking at, as he will be looking to repeat his heroics that guided the Kerala Blasters to the final last season. The home side are expected to start with the same starting eleven that crushed FC Goa, with Hume in attack, supported by Lekic and Izumi on either side, and Doutie playing behind the Canadian.
Probable starting line-up (4-4-1-1): Arminder; Tiri, Mondal, Rino, Augustine; Borja, Nato, Doutie, Izumi; Hume, Lekic.
FC Pune City
David Platt’s men are yet to register a win away from home, and they will know they have to grab this opportunity if they want to finish in the top four. Platt did a lot of chopping and changing to his side at the start of campaign, largely due to the quick succession of matches, but now seems to have found the right balance to his team.
FC Pune City’s defense has looked shaky at times, conceding poor goals and letting the opposition control the game. Eugenson Lyndoh and Didier Zakora, who both know how to control a football match, have been sensational throughout the campaign.
Adrian Mutu, who was ineffective at the start, is clicking for his side at the business end of the season. Tuncay will always be a threat, whether he starts or he comes off the bench, and Uche can also be a handful on his day.
The three players upfront for Pune are sure to cause Tiri and Mondal a few problems, and it will be interesting to see how that battle shapes up. The visitors are expected to line-up with a 4-1-3-2 formation, with Tuncay and Mutu starting up front, and Didier Zakora sitting in front of the back four.
Probable line-up (4-2-3-1): Bhattacharya; Ravanan, Johnson, Shorey, Kotal; Zakora, Lyndoh, Lenny, Jackichand, Tuncay; Mutu.
Atletico de Kolkata 1-3 FC Pune City
This league’s table is like a pendulum that keeps swinging to it’s extremes. Just as we thought Mumbai City FC were gaining some momentum, they came crashing down, just as we thought FC Goa were on a roll, their march was haulted by Kolkata. In a crucial tie at the Salt Lake Stadium, we expect FC Pune City to come up trumps and make the league table as interesting as ever.
Not much to choose between the two teams on paper, but FC Pune City will go for the jugular as David Platt will know this game is key to their chances of having a crack at the ISL trophy.
Blast from the past
FC Pune City 1-0 Atletico de Kolkata
When the two teams met earlier in the campaign, Pune were flying high and Kolkata were struggling. The frailties in Kolkata’s defense were exploited by Pune, and it took the home side less than two minutes to get on the score sheet as the visitors lost a header and Jackichand was first to it to finish superbly.
Image Courtesy: ISL Media Team