IFA Shield: Pune FC set to face Saprissa
Kolkata, Mar 6 : Pune FC face a do-or-die situation against Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa S.A.D. in the 117th IFA Shield at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Thursday here.
An opening round loss to Mohun Bagan (0-3) has left Pune FC in a situation where winning is important and anything less could mean curtains.
While the task of playing a team from a top-ranked country, where football is a culture, and the fact that the team are placed mid-table makes the task huge, Pune FC simply know what to expect.
The 17-man squad that Pune FC faces on the morrow comprises of mainly their second team that plays in the Costa Rican second division. Some players, in fact, have also played for junior Costa Rican National teams.
Additionally three ex-Costa Rican National and Saprissa players; Walter Centeno, Alonso Solis, and Fausto Gonzalez are expected to join the squad. However, it is unsure whether they will be fielded against Pune FC.
Pune FC Coach Derrick Perreira observes, "They are a young side, have good technique, move the ball well, which they predominantly gain owing to the sport being number one in their country."
The Coach makes his assessment having observed them in practice at the East Bengal ground while waiting for their turn.
"It will be a good experience for our players to learn and put up a good show."
The mix of youth and experience Saprissa brings makes Coach remind, "We need to match their skills and above all keep our discipline."
While the loss to Bagan was unexpected, Coach added, "Individual mistakes cost us on the field. I however expect a better performance excuses apart."
Pune FC expects to make changes to the squad, and will be hoping for Pune FC's luck against foreign teams to stand good. Against Senagal's AS Dounaes, Pune FC had won 2-0 in three years back and will be hoping for a repeat this time around.