PFC take on Sporting, look to regain I-League peak
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Pune FC (PFC) has several reasons to look for a positive outcome when they host Sporting Clube Goa in the I-League Round-17 encounter at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex at Balewadi on Sunday.
To begin with, Pune FC still smarting over their defeat to Prayag United SC will be keen to exploit home advantage. In the previous two encounters, between PFC and Sporting Clube de Goa in Pune the former has always earned points.
While the focus is on maximum gains, PFC also face the task of rebuilding themselves into a Top-2 position they worked into three rounds back until AIFF's decision on Mohun Bagan pushed them down to 4th place.
Ironically, Pune FC goes into this return-leg against Sporting Clube after suffering a hiccup in their campaign. In the first-leg, Pune FC hoped to forget the 2-2 draw they played against United Sikkim FC and this time the 0-2 loss in Kolkata.
In fact, it was between this period (Round 8 to 16) that PFC enjoyed a seven-match unbeaten run that led to an upward spike in the league table for PFC.
Coach Derrick Pereira said, "We are looking to get back to winning ways. We've had a good 10 day gap between the last match and we have prepared mentally and worked on areas where we needed to step up," "We are all set for the match. At this point all teams are equal and we cannot take (Sporting) lightly. I am expecting a good show by my boys."
Sporting Clube, currently placed in the bottom half of the table, go into the game looking for some consistency. The team, like a host of other teams has changed their coach mid-way through the season and has Spaniard, Oscar Burzon, in charge since the last 6 games.