NorthEast wait with bated breath as Chennai play Pune
Matchday 55 will decide the fourth semi-finalists of Hero Indian Super League 2015 as FC Pune City host Chennaiyin FC at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune on Saturday. Atlético de Kolkata, Delhi Dynamos FC and FC Goa have already secured semi-final berths and the Super Machans know that a draw will be enough for them to become the fourth semi-finalists this season. NorthEast United FC are the other team in contention for the semi-final spot and will be hoping that the Stallions do them a favour by beating Chennai on Saturday. A draw will see both NorthEast and Chennai on 20 points, however, the southern-outfit, with a goal difference of 9 as opposed to NorthEast’s -5, will qualify on that account. Pune, on the other hand, will look to finish an otherwise disappointing campaign on a high.
Form Guide (Last 5 matches)
FC Pune City: D-D-L-L-L
Chennaiyin FC: L-L-W-W-W
Head-to-Head: Chennaiyin FC drew away (1-1) and won (3-1) at home against FC Pune City last season. The Super Machans also beat Pune 2-1 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai earlier this season.
Adrian Mutu has been the only positive to have come out of Pune’s lean spell that has seen them collect just three points from their last seven matches. The Romanian hitman has netted four goals for his side this season, including two brilliantly taken free-kicks. A leader on the pitch for the Stallions, Mutu will be Pune’s best bet against a tight Chennaiyin defence.
Bernard Mendy has been a rock at the back for the Super Machans. Mendy’s physical presence at the back brings Marco Materazzi’s men plenty of assurance. Not shy to get into the opposition penalty area either, Mendy has also scored twice for Chennai this season.
Eugeneson Lyngdoh vs Bruno Pelissari
Eugeneson Lyngdoh will return to the Pune fold after missing their last encounter due to suspension. Technically gifted, Lyngdoh’s vision in midfield will be crucial to Pune’s hopes of prying open Chennai’s defence. The 29-year-old has contributed two goals and two assists to Pune’s cause this year and will be key to the Stallions chance of ending their season on a high.
Bruno Pelissari’s recent inclusion to the Chennaiyin FC starting line-up has been imperative to their late resurgence in Hero ISL 2015. The Brazilian youngster has been key in Chennai’s last three matches that have seen them score 11 goals and register three consecutive wins. Blessed with a powerful shot from range, Pelissari has one goal and an assist to his name this season.
Roger Johnson vs Stiven Mendoza
Roger Johnson will have his hands full against the menace that is Stiven Mendoza. The Englishman will have to be on top of his game if Pune are to contain Chennai’s Colombian dynamite. Johnson has been sensational for the Stallions this season and has completed the most number of interceptions (17), clearances (123) and blocks (21).
Stiven Mendoza will be the biggest threat to the Stallions. The Colombian who has netted on 11 occasions this year will be looking to extend his tally against Pune. His blistering pace will make life difficult for the hosts. Mendoza is also capable of creating goals and so far has provided two assists for his team-mates this season.
We are preparing for this game like we did before, with extreme professionalism. We’ve had just two days and not much rest. Our fate may have been sealed after the last game but I think we have to go out and do our best to win because that’s what we deserve and that’s what everyone, including the fans, deserve: FC Pune City head coach David Platt
Yes, of course they have much less to lose than us. But I would like to congratulate the players for creating this second chance for us. Fourteen days ago, we were close to being the first team to be eliminated. This league is like that, that you lose two games in a row and you can find yourself at the bottom of the table. But if you win two games, you can be in the top half: Chennaiyin FC head coach Marco Materazzi
FC Pune City: Kalu Uche, Adrian Mutu (Marquee Player), Yendrick Ruiz, Wesley Verhoek, Tuncay Sanli, Didier Zokora, James Bailey, Jackichand Singh, Fanai Lalrempuia, Sushanth Mathew, Manish Maithani, Bikash Jairu, Israil Gurung, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Lenny Rodrigues, Diego Colotto, Roger Johnson, Nicky Shorey, Govin Singh, Gourmangi Singh, Gurjinder Kumar, Pritam Kotal, Dharmaraj Ravanan, Steve Simonsen, Lalit Thapa, Arindam Bhattacharya
Chennaiyin FC: Karanjit Singh, Nidhin Lal, Apoula Edel Bete, Éder Monteiro Fernandes, Justin Stephen, Bernard Mendy, Abhishek Das, Lalhmangaihsanga Ralte, L. Dhanachandra Singh, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Mailson Alves, Alessandro Potenza, Gilbert Oliveira, Elano Blumer (marquee player), Godwin Franco, Thoi Singh, Harmanjot Khabra, Raphael Augusto, Bruno Augusto Pelissari de Lima, Zakeer Mundampara, Manuele Blasi, Fikru Teferra Lamessa, Jayesh Rane, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh, John Stiven Mendoza Valencia.
– ISL Media