Home > News > Sports India News

I-L: Pune FC set to push Prayag at home

Posted on Dec 21, 07:42PM | IBNS

Pune FC's impressive away run awaits a test in Prayag United SC at home in an I-League 2012-13 Round 12 encounter under lights on Saturday. Both teams go into the encounter after securing wins over quality sides in the last round. Pune FC rocked Dempo SC 5-1 in Goa, while PUSC pipped East Bengal 1-0 in results that not only dared the league's frontrunners, but handed them embarrassment respectively. Pune FC Coach Derrick Pereira, says, "I kept on telling the side to stick to plan and not get carried away... every match has a challenge of its own." While Pune FC's need of the hour will be to keep their confidence in check, the Kolkata side is no short match-winners after investing heavily to group the best for this season. Both teams occupy positions just below the Top-3 with Pune FC boasting of a 3-point advantage over PUSC, something they are keen to increase. PUSC's main threat, whom the home defence will need to keep under check, is undoubtedly the I-League top-scorer Ranti Martins. Having individually topped in the two seasons, Ranti so far has 14 goals to his credit. Interestingly, the Nigerian has scored the first goal in 6 of the 11 matches PUSC played so far. In fact, while he has accounted for half of his team's goals, he's also the man in form scoring in each of the last three games. While Ranti's one-man effort is a task every opponent keeps an eye on, PUSC has also had C. Vineeth (2), Carlos Hernandez (2), Shankar Oraon, Lalkamal Bhowmik, Md. Rafique, Asif Kottayil and Sukhen Dey chip in. Pune FC Coach, says, "In this match we need to continue from where we left off in the last match (Dempo SC). We need to cut off the mistakes we committed in the first half and take heart from the great second half we played in Goa (against Dempo)." Adding up interest for the common spectator is the return of ex-Pune FC custodian Subrata Paul, which draws up a testing battle with Pune FC strikers James Moga, Jeje Lalpekhlua and Subash Singh. The strikers collectively account for 10 goals among themselves. Giving Paul company will be attacking midfielder Lester Fernandez who moved to the City of Joy for this season. Pune FC coach adds, "They (Prayag United SC) are a good side. Excellent I would say and have a good set of players. They are one of the top teams as far as players in the team are concerned." Pune FC goes into the match with a six match unbeaten streak and seek to get back to winning ways at home. The visitors, in contrary, have had an uneven run ever since new coach Dutchman Eelco Schattorie took charge. After winning their first 2 games under the new coach, PUSC hit a lean patch with only 1 point from the following 4 games, before toppling the then-unbeaten East Bengal. On the eve of the game, Pune FC coach was quick to indicate, "Focus will play an important role. And all round efforts will need to be put in to enjoy the game and get on with the job." While the fact that PUSC are the team with the highest goals (28) scored in the league, their vulnerability can be gauged from the team managing only one clean sheet in the I-League. The visitors haven't been at their best while playing away from Kolkata as their record stands at 1 point from 3 games with two losses. PUSC will be missing two of their key players, Nigerian defender Bello Razaq (on a 2-match suspension) and Costa Rican striker Carlos Hernandez who has not travelled with the team. Bello's absence would mean central defender Gouramangi Singh taking up the key role. Pune FC has declared a fully-fit squad for selection. "All are fit and no major changes are expected in our eighteen," informed Pune FC coach. However, Coach added, "According to situation there may be changes in the eleven that played last." "The team is combining well and everybody is contributing to the performance and results," explained the Coach after his session at the Balewadi Sports Complex. Ever since both teams have been in the top-flight together since 2009, the head-to-head is split down the middle with 3 wins each and 4 draws in the encounters in all competitions. The same is the case in I-League, with 2 wins each and 2 draws. Both teams have in their ranks players who have scored in this fixture in the past, with Oraon, Lalkamal and James Singh having netted once each against Pune FC since 2009-10. Conversely, Izumi Arata (3), Subash Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Shanmugam Venkatesh and Douhou Pierre have netted against the men-in-purple over the last 4 seasons.

The game is the second between Pune FC and PUSC after the Federation Cup in September which ended in a 1-1 draw.

FORM-RUN (last 5 matches)

Pune FC (4th; 20 points): W-W-D-W-D

Prayag United SC (5th; 17 points): W-L-L-L-D

PFC 'Home' Form: D-D-L-W-W

PUSC 'Away'Form: W-L-W-L-D-W

HEAD 2 HEAD (all Matches)

22/09/12 FC Prayag Utd SC 1-1 Pune FC at Jamshedpur

12/02/12 IL Pune FC 2-1 Prayag Utd SC at Pune

15/11/11 IL Prayag Utd SC 5-1 Pune FC at Kolkata

21/10/11 DC Prayag Utd SC 2-0 Pune FC at New Delhi

16/03/11 IFS Prayag Utd SC 0-1 Pune FC at Kolkata

08/03/11 IL Prayag Utd SC 1-0 Pune FC at Kolkata

18/12/10 IL Pune FC 1-1 Prayag Utd SC at Pune

31/10/10 DC Pune FC 0-0 Prayag Utd SC at New Delhi

09/04/10 IL Prayag Utd SC 1-1 Pune FC at Kolkata

28/01/10 IL Pune FC 2-1 Prayag Utd SC at Pune

20/04/08 I2D Prayag Utd SC 4-2 Pune FC at Guwahati

09/04/08 I2D Prayag Utd SC 2-0 Pune FC at Pune