ISL: Pune City takes on BFC in clash of equals

FC Pune City will look to become the second team to qualify for the Indian Super League playoffs when it takes on Bengaluru FC in the latter's home ground on Friday.

Bengaluru skipper Sunil Chhetri will play the crucial encounter against FC Pune City on Friday.   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

FC Pune City will look to become the second team to qualify for the Indian Super League playoffs when it takes on Bengaluru FC – the first club to do so – at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Friday.

It will have its task cut out though as BFC is eyeing its sixth consecutive win. Pune itself has won four of its last five matches, and its assistant coach Vladica Grujic seemed confident ahead of the tie.

“I don't even remember when Bengaluru last lost a match,” he said. “But it is very important that we remember we were the better team in the previous match against them until we went down to 10 men. We know what we can do and what we need to do, and maybe we can also confirm our position in the top four with a win here.”

Read: Dynamos prevails 1-0 over Northeast United FC

BFC coach Albert Roca suggested that there would be no let-up in his side's efforts either. The club has had to grapple with a cramped fixture schedule of late, but Roca was confident of extracting the best out of his team.

'Most difficult team'

Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Dimas Delgado, Juan Gonzalez and Lenny Rodrigues, all of whom who didn't feature in the AFC Cup play-off first leg win in the Maldives on Tuesday, are expected to play.

“The most important thing is about keeping the momentum,” he said. “We are still training to be better and try and keep this position [top of the table]. Pune is the most difficult team in the ISL at the moment. It is a team which I'm sure will be in the playoff, and we may even meet in the next stage. So anything we can learn tomorrow will be good for us.”

For BFC Boithang Haokip and Harmanjot Singh Khabra will be out of action after having picked up injuries midweek, while Pune will have a fully-fit squad.

  Dugout videos