Pune City, Kolkata seek win to revive campaign
Sixth placed FC Pune City come into their match against Atlético de Kolkata at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on the back of a disappointing defeat away to an impressive FC Goa. They’re now without a win in four matches and Franco Colomba will hope that his team find some form against the second placed side in the league. Kolkata are themselves coming in from an agonising defeat in Kochi and too they will be looking for a win to seal their berth in the semis.
Pune will want to increase their goal tally having netted just nine times as compared to Kolkata’s 13. Pune have however taken more shots (110-100) and more shots at goal (54-52) than their opponents and that will give them confidence going ahead. From a defensive point of view, Kolkata look more solid. Both the sides have kept four clean sheets each so far but Kolkata have put in more tackles (212-191) and interceptions (316-287). Both the sides have been playing Indian goalkeepers who have acquitted themselves creditably.
Form Guide (most recent matches first)
FC Pune City: LLDDW
Atlético de Kolkata: LWDLD
The experienced Italian did not have a good outing against Goa in his previous encounter. He is a natural talented defender who reads the game well and gets into positions to break up play. He will be up against the acrobatic Ethiopian international frontman Fikru. The lanky striker has been a perennial threat to rival defences and is good in the air as well as the ground and Cirillo will have to be very watchful against him. Fikru has scored four goals already and looks good for some more against a side that is lacking in confidence at the moment.
Kostas Katsouranis vs Borja Fernández
The Greek international is the only player in the ISL who featured at the World Cup finals in Brazil. An experienced midfielder, Katsouranis has been the backbone of the Pune side. With the ability to pass, make excellent runs on and off the ball and test the goalkeeper from distance, Katsouranis is a dangerous man. Up against him will be the Spaniard who has had a decent tournament so far, having netted one stupendous goal in the first match. His holding role will be the key to stopping the Greek player from venturing forward.
Dudu Omagbemi vs Josemi
The Nigerian hitman has ably replaced David Trezeguet in the Pune set-up and has led from the front. Having scored once in the competition, he will be looking for more goals. His strength and aerial ability are a vital part of his game and defender Josemi will have to be up for the task against the strongly built Nigerian. The Spaniard has had an impressive tournament, putting in useful shifts in match after match. He will have to shackle the Nigerian and see that his threat is neutralised.
Players to watch
FC Pune City
Jermaine Pennant – The English winger was visibly gutted after losing the last encounter. The talent he possesses saw him play for top clubs like Arsenal and Liverpool in the English Premier League and Pennant will be banking on that experience to help his team out. The wily winger is pacy and is a good crosser of the ball. With a target-man like Dudu leading the line, Pennant will be a handful for the rival defence.
Atlético de Kolkata
Luis García – The ex-Liverpool player has been an important cog in the wheel for the away side. His presence on the field lifts his teammates and Atlético certainly look a better team with Garcia involved. Having been denied a goal in his previous match, the former Spanish international will be determined to make amends this time and Pune’s defence will have to be switched on all throughout to stop the little Spaniard.