Formidable Bengaluru test awaits Pune City

Pune City are languishing in the ninth spot on the Indian Super League table after picking up just a solitary point from their first two away games.

Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri in training ahead of the match against FC Pune City.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

In search of its first win, FC Pune City on Monday faces a formidable Bengaluru FC in an Indian Super League (ISL) clash here.

The Stallions are languishing in the ninth spot on the table after picking up just a solitary point from their first two away games.

“I think Bengaluru FC is the best team in India. They are playing the second season with almost the same players.

"They have changed only two-three players. That is very important. Albert Roca has gone but Carles Cuadrat is the same. It is important to follow a continuous philosophy,” said Pune coach Miguel Angel Portugal.

A win against Bengaluru will not just be Pune’s first of the season, but it will also be their maiden victory over the opposition to whom they bowed out in last edition’s playoffs.

“We are preparing for the match very well. We know their strengths and weaknesses very well. We have our ideas and we know the plan how to pick up a win,” added Portugal.

The Spanish coach will look towards his key attackers Emiliano Alfaro and Marcelinho to provide the spark in the clash against last season’s runner-up.

A lack of goals has been Pune’s undoing in the current campaign, with two games yielding only one of them.

Bengaluru’s start this season under new coach Carles Cuadrat has not been entirely convincing.

They did notch an impressive victory over defending champion Chennaiyin FC in their opening game but were then held at home by Jamshedpur FC.

Back on the road, Bengaluru will look to continue their impressive away form from last season in which they won seven out of nine matches.

“Games against Pune City have always been tough and I expect nothing different this time around. They will look to turn a corner against us and we need to be cautious,” said Cuadrat.

Cuadrat has at his disposal one of the most lethal pairings in the league in the form of Miku and Sunil Chhetri.

In the four matches against Pune last season, the duo scored a combined seven goals which is the most against a single opponent.