ISL: Pune City looks to seal play-off berth against FC Goa

FC Pune City will look to seal its play-off berth when it hosts FC Goa in the Indian Super League on Sunday.

Pune City FC players train ahead of their crucial clash against FC Goa on Sunday.   -  ISL Media

FC Pune City is on the cusp of sealing its spot in the semifinal of the Indian Super League and will look for nothing but a win when it hosts a resurgent FC Goa on Sunday. It could turn out to be a goal-fest, given that the two sides are among the top-scoring teams in the league.

Pune City custodian Vishal Kaith will play a crucial role in ensuring his side takes all three points from the tie. The front-runner in the race for the Golden Glove award this season, the 21-year-old has kept six clean sheets over 13 matches, beaten only 10 times in a competition where the forwards have had it going their way.

Goa, on the other hand, will be led by the striking combination of Ferran Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote, who have scored 21 goals in between them. Corominas heads the Golden Boot list for strikers and his individual tally of 13 goals is more than what the teams of ATK (11) and North East United FC (12) have scored this season. 

With Marcelinho (eight goals, seven assists) showing the way, FCPC possess an attack that can hit back and the Brazilian with speed and silken skills on the ball will have fans chanting his name.

Ranko Popovic, the home team's coach, felt that the visiting side has quality and remains a threat, regardless of its current position. The Serbian said, “One month ago, FC Goa were the top candidates to top (the league) and become champions. The team is the same, so are the players and coach remain the same.” 

He refused to take anything for granted, even though his team is in second place. “Our target remains the same. We will try to do our best and try to take three points.” 

Goa coach Sergio Lobera said, “We still depend on ourselves in the next three matches. We have an important game and when this game finishes, we want to be dependent on ourselves.” 

FCPC needs a point to qualify, but all-out defence may be risky as it eyes a knockout berth for the first time in four seasons. Goa is a former finalist and winning at Balewadi will take the side a closer to reaching the last-four.