Pune FC look to continue golden winning streak
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On a high after their stunning win over Dempo, a spirited United SC will look to halt Pune FC's six-match winning streak in what promises to be an exciting round 15 I-League contest on Wednesday.
Pune FC have climbed atop the standings with 28 points from 12 matches, alongside Churchill Brothers who are ahead by virtue of their better goal margin.
United, under new Dutch coach Eelco Schattorie, are looking to come out of a bad phase, especially the way they upset last year's champions Dempo 1-0 in the last round. The local challengers will look to avenge their 1-3 defeat in Pune in the 12th round.
"We faced some setback in the last few rounds but it does not mean all is over for us. There are many rounds to go and we can return to a very good position if we keep playing well," Schattorie on Tuesday.
The side will heavily bank on World Cupper Carlos Hernandez, who had scored the winner against Dempo.
"Carlos scored a world-class goal in the last match against Dempo. He is likely to be marked heavily but we have our tactical game in place and hope to get over the challenge," the Dutchman said as he looked ahead to get the team back among the elites.
"We have no fitness problems and hope to retain the winning combination," Schattorie said. Pune FC have an injury concern in striker Jeje Lalpekhlua, who is nursing a niggle.
"It does not really matter which position we currently occupy in the league standings. It is more important to sustain the good showing and would like to move match by match," Pune coach Derrick Pereira said.
"We managed to keep the winning momentum going despite encountering extreme cold and high altitude in the last two rounds in venues like Shillong (Lajong FC) and Gangtok (United Sikkim FC). Thankfully, the weather is not so harsh here making the conditions more playable," he added. "Tomorrow it will be an away match for us and hence we will be more watchful initially and weigh our attacking options as the game progresses," Pereira said.
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