Pune FC seek first continental win in AFC Cup
Posted on Mar 18 2014 | IANS
Singapore, March 18 : Pune FC are keen to log their first win on the continental stage when they face Singapore champions Tampines Rovers FC in an AFC Cup Round-3 football encounter at the Jalan Besar Stadium here Wednesday.
Two draws in the opening two rounds make this Group H tie important for third-placed Pune (2 points) as qualification to the next round beckons at this turn-off stage of the competition.
However, the game on the morrow will not be an easy one for Pune as Tampines are yet to open their account in Group-H and will look to bounce back after two consecutive losses in the previous rounds. The losses were to Kitchee SC (0-5) at home and to Nay Pyi Taw FC (3-1) away.
Like Pune, the hosts were also involved in the AFC Champions League play-offs and suffered a first round defeat to Hong Kong's South China (1-2 after extra time) before coming into the AFC Cup
Tampines, who have won the domestic title for the last three years in a row, are making their fourth consecutive and seventh overall appearance in the AFC Cup (2005-07 and 2011-13) with their best ever finish being reaching the quarter-finals in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Nonetheless, Pune coach Mike Snoei is confident going into the game after his side held Kitchee to a draw despite going two goals down in the first half itself in their first ever overseas game.
The Dutchman was however wary of the artificial turf and speaking at the pre-match press conference, he said, "In India it is 50-50; some of the teams in the I-League play on this surface but we play on natural grass, so it is very different for us. But like everything in Singapore, the quality is fantastic and we are looking forward to it."
On the opponents, Snoei said, "We were present at the weekend game that featured Tampines Rovers. We've seen them play and made our assessments. We are ready for them."