Pune: Pune, who showed greater character by pulling themselves back from defeat in their last round, will brace for another stiff test when they take on Prayag United in the 20th round of I-League football on Sunday. (Agencies)
While hosts Pune FC will certainly want to set the record straight after losing the first-leg 1-5, it is their home advantage and the hope of moving up the league ranks that make the game important. The league table as it stands separates second to seventh by just four points.
For Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira, any pre-match opinion revolves around "we need to perform to our potential."
Thus, with the win over Dempo SC doing a world of good, the coach made it a point to remind: "All credit to the boys to come back from the difficult time of having to deal with defeat (Sporting Clube de Goa in Round 18). The players performed well after the demoralizing match wherein a 2-0 lead ended with a huge defeat."
On Prayag United, the coach said: "They are a good side. A well balanced side and very importantly have an experienced back-line."
While for some reason Prayag have been tricky opponents over the years, Pune FC have every reason to look up to the fact that Prayag have not been good travellers having picked up only seven points from six games out of Kolkata, the lowest amongst the Top-9 teams. Moreover, Pune FC have not lost to their rivals at home in an I-League game.
Adding up to Pune FC's advantage is Prayag for the first time having to go into the game without at least two of their foreign strikers.
In the game Sunday, at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex the Kolkata side have Yakubu and Josimar is suspended and Kayne injured.
Pune: Pune, who showed greater character by pulling themselves back from defeat in their last round, will brace for another stiff test when they take on Prayag United in the 20th round of I-League football on Sunday.