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Pune FC out on a mission against East Bengal

Dimapur, Oct 28 (NPN)
Published on 28 Oct. 2012 11:52 PM IST
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Pune FC will bank on the winning run and a fit squad ahead of their game against Kingfisher East Bengal in the I-League 2012-13 at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata, on Monday.

Currently fourth on the League table with six points from two games, Pune FC Coach Derrick Pereira is aware of the job on hand and remains focused to build upon the advantage. In contract, East Bengal is in seventh place and has 4 points in their kitty.  

Following a light workout on Sunday, the coach opined, “East Bengal as a team is an experienced side. But in saying so, I also do believe we have an equally good side to match anybody and God willing we can get a good result.”

For the mid-afternoon game on Monday, Pune FC having included goalkeeper Abhra Mondal, striker James Moga and midfielder Arata Izumi in their 18-man squad and will be eager to relive their last victory over the host’s way back in 2009-2010.

Kolkata-born Abhra replaces Amrinder Singh from the side that played last. In fact, Abhra returns to the squad for the first time nine months after he cracked his right-leg shin bone in Shillong.

The Coach explains, “Abhra’s inclusion to the squad will mean a lot for the player himself. “He will gain the confidence needed after staying away for a long period. He has the experience for big match situations and moreover knows what one should expect in Kolkata.”

Striker Moga, who missed the first two games by contracting malaria, is fit and ready. The South Sudan player has been included into the side in place of East Bengal on-loan player Khanthang Paite.

The midfielder was excluded from the side owing to a clause East Bengal put in the loan agreement which restricts Paite to feature against the hosts.

Midfielder Arata, like Moga, will be looking at his first I-League start after injuring his great toe bruise to the right foot he suffered during the Federation Cup against Salgaocar SC. Arata replaces Shanmugam Venkatesh, who is nursing a groin injury suffered during practice. 

Likewise, midfielder Mumtaz Akhtar returns after serving a one-man suspension in the last match against Mumbai FC. Interestingly, Abhra, Arata and Mumtaz are ex-East Bengal players, with striker Subash Singh making it four in the squad that travelled.

With options aplenty, Pune FC is expected to hand starts to some of its new inclusions. Upfront Moga, who resumed training with the side since a week, seems a certainly to play alongside Jeje Lalpekhlua, with the focus on breaking the three loss run to Trevor Morgan’s side at Kolkata in previous outings .

Moga’s possible inclusion is something the Pune FC Coach prefers to hold back until match day. “Moga is a good player and what is left to be seen is how fast he can strike an understanding with striker Jeje and midfielder Douhou (Pierre). And if that fits in place we have a set side.”

However, the one area the Coach feels needs to step up is the backline. “Our defence will need to tighten up a bit.” The evaluation is based on the soft goals Pune Fc conceded in the both previous games.

With the League resuming after a two-week break, the Coach felt it was a blessing in disguise. “Winning gave us the psychological advantage; the break gave some players time to recover fully.

 “All I will say is that we need to defend well and need to build on the start we’ve had so far.”
The game for both teams turns out to be a first in I-League season. Pune FC plays their first away game, while the Federation Cup champions' Round-3 is the first home game following that victory.

Pune FC goes into the match prepared. During the break, the team travelled to Mumbai for practice game against Dodsal FC on an artificial pitch keeping in mind the need to adapt, apart from dealing with high day temperatures. 

Both teams lock horns in the ninth all-time meeting. The encounter, in I-League is the seventh, which brings up another fact that Pune FC hope to correct.

In none of the six-previous games has Pune FC ever managed to open the scoring.
Interestingly, the I-League clashes have been tight and even out on win-draw-loss counts logging two in each respectively.
Form Run (Last 5 matches)
Pune FC: (4th; 6 points): W-W-L-D-W. East Bengal: (7th; 4 points): W-D-W-W-W

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