ISL: Confident Jamshedpur faces Pune challenge

Jamshedpur FC has suffered no defeat in the Indian Super League so far, and neither has it conceded a single goal. However, on Sunday, it faces a side that has scored nine goals in four games.

Jamshedpur FC kept its fourth clean sheet in a row in its 1-0 defeat of Delhi Dynamos.   -  AP

Jamshedpur FC is on a high after having secured its first victory in the Indian Super League (ISL) a few days ago and is aiming for a similar result against free-scoring FC Pune City here on Sunday.

Steve Coppell’s players have kept four consecutive clean sheets in the ISL so far and have proved tough to conquer. But on Sunday, they will face a different challenge in Pune.

Coppell spoke about the attacking capabilities his opponent possesses. “Pune are a top side. It is fair to say that. They arguably have the two best strikers in the league. Both Marcelinho and Emiliano Alfaro were great last year. They make a lethal combination. It will be a tough game but I think it [will be] enjoyable for everyone to watch,” Coppell said at the pre-match press conference on Saturday.

Coppell confirmed defender Anas Edathodika will be out of action for some time. He sustained an injury during Jamshedpur FC’s game against Kerala Blasters. “Anas is injured. He is not with us. He is undergoing specialist physiotherapy. As I said, he didn’t travel with the team last time because we don’t want him to travel and aggravate his injury,” he said.

‘Won’t be easy’

Missing one of its best defenders, Coppell’s side will have its work cut out if it wants to keep yet another clean sheet. Pune has netted nine goals in its last four ISL encounters. However, Pune Coach Ranko Popovic believes it won’t be easy for his side to score. The Serbian spoke highly of Jamshedpur’s defensive organisation.

“In my opinion, they are the best organised team in terms of defence. They haven’t conceded yet. It won’t be easy for us either but we’ll try to score and that is the challenge. I’m really excited about the game [on Sunday],” he said.

The pitch in Jamshedpur was a cause of concern when a match was played there the last time. Popovic, however, dismissed it as an excuse. “We have to get on with the game. I hope it’s better. Jamshedpur FC will go to play their away games and will have to face the same. We can’t use that an as excuse. Jamshedpur has the best footballing academy in the India. People love football here,” he added.

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