PUNE: Chips are down for debutants Bharat FC, but the new outfit from Pune is looking at the silver-lining of having held Kingfisher East Bengal to a 1-1 draw in Kolkata to inspire themselves to score their first win when they take on Salgaocar FC in the Round 7 match of the Hero I-League at the Balewadi Sports Complex on Sunday.
Things haven’t worked for Bharat FC as they would have liked to, but there are a some positives that the team would like to draw upon when they take on the Goan outfit on the morrow.
Bharat FC are currently at No 10 position with two points from two draws and two losses, while Salgaocar FC are at No 6 position with eight points from six games.
In their last match against East Bengal, Bharat FC earned a creditable draw after being down by a goal at the Salt Lake Stadium. On the other side, Salgaocar has come here after losing to Mumbai FC 0-3 at Cooperage.
“We are entering a very crucial phase of our season. We have three home games in front of us and it is imperative that we post some good results in front of our fans. Salgaocar FC are a strong team but we will be going all out and we want a good result against the Goans,” Bharat FC coach Stuart Watkiss said ahead of the tie against Salgaocar FC.
Defeats against table toppers Royal Wahingdoh FC and Bengaluru FC has put Bharat FC way down the table, but Watkiss said that the team was now in position to take on the challenge.
Watkiss said that his team’s display over the last two weeks and the increasing cohesion between his players has convinced him that the team is moving in the right direction.
“We are executing the plans that we work on in training in actual match situations. We are passing the ball in more fluid fashion, completing almost 85 percent of our passes. All of this indicates that the side is coming along well,” he said.
“Our five-man midfield allows us comprehensive time on the ball. Keeping the ball is something that I want this team to learn and they are slowly getting there. Kris (Bright) gets a bit isolated at times up-front but he has done very well to create opportunities and I am confident that my team can score a couple of goals every match even with just one out and out striker,” Watkiss said rubbishing suggestions that Bharat FC had been too defensive.
Ahead of the match, Watkiss will not have Dipendu Dowary, who suffered hamstring strain, for selection but otherwise he has rest of the team for selection.
Salgaocar coach Derrick Pereira rued the missed chances against Mumbai FC saying there were good chances, but the team failed to make them count.
“I am confident in the ability of my players and I can feel that a good result is just around the corner,” Pereira said.
Salgaocar FC have former Pune FC captain Douhou Pierre in their ranks and their talismanic striker, Darryl Duffy has been in good form coming into the game.
Match KO: Feb 22 @ 7 PM IST (Ten Action)