Pune FC will be aiming for all three points when they host arch rivals Mumbai FC in an all-important U18 I-League Maharashtra Zone clash at the Pune FC Training Pitches in Mamurdi on Monday.
Currently second in the table, Pune FC (17 pts) need a win in this final round encounter to clinch the Maharashtra Zone for the second year in a row. For the record, local rivals DSK Shivajians, who have played their final round game last week, are at the top with 20 points.
Speaking on the eve of the clash, Pune FC Coach Naushad Moosa said, “Every game is important for us, but this one even more. Though we have qualified for the final phase, the boys know the added importance of this game and have been working hard throughout the week.”
Going into the game on the back of an extended break post a goalless draw against Shivajians two weeks back, Pune FC will be missing a host of players. While winger Sannik Murmu is suspended for a sending off in the previous game, goalkeepers Anuj Kumar and Shainkhan P, along with striker Ashique Kuruniyan, medio Harsharan Khabra and defender Gaurav Bora have travelled home for exams and thus won’t be available for the clash.
Despite the situation, Coach Moosa is positive ahead of the game and said, “Yes we are a missing a number of players but at the same time we have enough depth in our squad. The young players in our team have been working hard in recent games and so we are confident ahead of the Mumbai FC game.”
The last time both sides squared off, Pune FC thumped Mumbai FC 10-0 at Cooperage thanks to hattricks from Ashique and Lalawmpuia. In fact, the win was Pune FC’s biggest ever in the competition and will motivate the players ahead of the ultimate game in the zonal phase.
Interestingly, Pune FC have logged seven wins in seven games against Mumbai FC in the competition since its inception. Moreover, having netted a staggering 32 goals in these games, Pune FC will be hoping to maintain their one hundred per cent record on the morrow.
The game at Mamurdi kicks off at 3.30 PM on Monday.
15/11/2015 – Mumbai FC 0-10 Pune FC at Mumbai
07/01/2015 – Mumbai FC 1-6 Pune FC at Mumbai
13/12/2014 – Pune FC 3-0 Mumbai FC at Pune
24/02/2014 – Mumbai FC 1-2 Pune FC at Mumbai
20/01/2014 – Pune FC 4-1 Mumbai FC at Pune
13/05/2012 – Pune FC 4-0 Mumbai FC at Kalyani
27/04/2012 – Mumbai FC 2-3 Pune FC at Navi Mumbai