Pune, Apr 3 UNI | 4 months ago

Torn between the AFC Cup and the Airtel I-League campaign for the last one month, Pune FC can bring the focus on the I-League where the Red Lizards can still finish among the top.

Having dropped from No 2 position to No 6 now, Pune FC have a tough path towards the business end of the Airtel I-League Football championship as they meet Salgaocar FC in the Round 24 match at the Balewadi Sports Complex stadium here tomorrow.

Pune FC have only four matches remaining in the season and the only positive is that they play three of them at home including Friday's game against the No 2 placed Goan outfit.

The Red Lizards have 31 points from 20 matches and are tied with two other teams in what seems to be one of the closest I-League campaigns. There are six teams in with a chance to win the title and four of them have only three matches remaining.

A win on the morrow will be crucial for Pune FC as three full points will help them climb up to the No 2 position again. Salgaocar, coached by former Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira, also has 34 points, but will be playing their 22nd game.

Pune FC's Mustapha Riga and Anthony D'Souza, who scored against Tampine Rovers, will be the players to look forward to as the Red Lizards go into the crucial tie against Salgaocar.

Pune FC's defence might be a cause of worry as Anas Edathodika, who was injured in the AFC Cup game, might miss the action.

Striker Mirjan Pavlovic would be another man to look out for along with youngsters Thongkhosiem Haokip, Gabriel Fernandes and S Ranjan.

Salgaocar though lost their last away match against Rangdajied United, they have scored three wins and a draw in their last five encounters while, Pune FC's last win came way back on February 19 when they beat Mohammedan Sporting here at home.

The Goans had a brief practice session on Thursday with Pereira who knows the length and breadth of the Balewadi pitch. Also players like Chika Wali and Caitano Costa, who have played for Pune FC last season will be an added advantage for Salgaocar.

(Posted on 04-04-2014)