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Pune FC face Mohun Bagan with sight set on Top-3 finish
Pune FC faces a whole load of permutations and combinations before they settle with a final placing in the I-League 2011-12.
While the writing on the wall clearly states “must-win,” Pune FC is up against Kolkata’s Mohun Bagan at the gigantic Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Sunday wherein three points can land Pune FC either second or third position.
But while the Air-India-East Bengal match turns out to be vital in Pune FC’s aim of finishing as second best team any result otherwise can reshuffle their final league standings which could then be a Top-5 end.
And as if this was not all, Bagan in their bid to have one final go at a good finish this season has hyped the by calling it the farewell game for long-serving striker Jose Ramirez Baretto.
Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira unperturbed by all the talk that surrounds the match says, “Honestly, all this does not make a difference. We have our task cut out and know what is expected of us.”
He added, “Yes as far as Baretto is concerned we will wish him all the best in future, but that’s after the game.”
With Bagan already pressurizing this Round-26 game for a positive result by opening up the gates for its fans to come out in numbers, Pune FC coach is unnerved.
“It is understandable that the game on-field will be tough. But to me, I believe, concentration plays a vital part wherein the pressure of the opposition to perform can be exploited.”
Agreeing that Bagan will be motivated to fight it out, the coach felt that the key would be to go out in the best frame of mind, deliver and make it a memorable finish.
“The boys know that we can have one of our best finishes. They are pumped up and now it’s a matter of one match finally that will define all the hard-work put in through the season.”
Pune FC with 46 points currently occupy third place and stands a chance to better the third place finish achieved in 2009-10 or finish in the Top-5 bracket last year.
“I am confident about the players and so are they,” the coach added.
Pune FC have travelled to Kolkata without striker Jeje Lalpekhlua and with no changes to the side that played the last round against Salgaocar SC at home.
Both sides have met six times in the past of which Pune FC has won once and Bagan twice. In fact, Pune FC’s win was in the home-leg of the 2011-I2-League. The other three encounters have ended in draws.
The Kolkata showdown will be the fourth and so far barring the IFA Shield the teams have not managed to emerge clear-cut winners. For Pune FC victory against the green and maroon side will be a first, moreover Pune FC is yet to open their scoring against Bagan in the City of Joy, something Pune FC will be desperate to get straight.
With Bagan on a nine-match unbeaten streak, Pune FC will be seeking a to define that they punch over the rest considering that their opponents over the last five matches have just one win and a spate of draws.
Sunday 6th May, 2012, 3:30 PM
Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata
Form Run (Last 5 matches)
Pune FC (3rd, 46 points): W-L-W-W-W
Mohun Bagan (5th, 44 points): D-W-D-D-D
03/01/12 I-L Pune FC 2 – 1 Mohun Bagan AC
21/03/11 IFS Mohun Bagan AC 2 – 0 Pune FC
12/02/11 I-L Mohun Bagan AC 0 – 0 Pune FC
03/12/10 I-L Pune FC 1 – 1 Mohun Bagan AC
10/03/10 I-L Mohun Bagan AC 0 – 0 Pune FC
13/11/09 I-L Pune FC 1 – 3 Mohun Bagan AC