Unbeaten Pune FC in first away test

Pune FC will be out to keep their unbeaten run intact when they clash with Prayag United Sports Club in their first away match of the I-League 2011-12.

Pune FC

What makes this late Saturday evening Round-4 encounter interesting for Pune FC is the fact that the last time both team clashed – the Durand Cup three weeks back - the Kolkata side triumphed. Thus, if one considers getting-records-straight as the main agenda once out on the Yuba Bharati Krirangan pitch Pune FC are certainly staring at maximum gains.
The Kolkata side is no pushovers and coach Derrick Pereira responds saying, “They are a good team… a well balanced side,” before adding “this is no grudge match every game is a new start.”
He added, “It is important to treat every opponent as an opponent at all times.”
Both teams have the distinction of remaining unbeaten in the League so far and the difference between the two is Pune FC’s hard-fought 3-1 win over Chirag United Kerala which is also something Derrick’s boys want to take forward.
“We have shown improvement match by match…we have scored 5 goals in two matches,” adds the coach who believes, “things can only get better if we continue playing in the organized way we have so far.”
Pune FC (5 points) currently occupy fourth place, while their opponents have three from drawn encounters two coming from opponents knocking in equalizers and one salvaged by themselves in the last 5-odd minutes of play.
Coach Derrick adds, “They will be tough and we will have to work hard.”
Having gone through two practice sessions - one at Mohammedan Sporting ground and the pre-match at the YBK in the morning, ever since they landed the coach adds, “playing in Kolkata is motivating owing to the crowd… every player likes that and I am hoping for a good result.”    
For Saturday’s game Pune FC will be without central defender Chika Wali and right-wing back Srikanth Ramu with both out of the game picking up two yellow cards. Caitano Costa or Rollingson Hyungyo is likely to take Chika’s place with Anas Edatodhika providing the other option. Incidentally, Chika will be out of a game that pits his former team.
Othallo Tabia, who came on as a substitute in the last match, is certain to get back in Srikanth’s absence, with no further tinkering expected and the possibility of a shuffle in the mid-field.
The Kolkata-side have given all their opponents in every tournament a tough run and that includes not conceding a single goal in the Durand Cup. 
With medios Denson Devdas, Lalkamal Bhowmick making up a strong midfield, Josimar Martins upfront make up a potent force that will need an extra Pune FC attention.
Prayag, it seems, will be without Yusif Yakubu and ’keeper Abijit Mondal.
Pune FC and Prayag United have played out close encounters in the past and so far have met nine times in all time meetings. So far the head-to-head count tilts in the Kolkata side’s favour with 4 wins as compared to two by Pune FC and three drawn encounters.
However, in Kolkata both teams have met thrice and both have won one each, while one ended in a draw.

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