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ISL 2016: Antonio Habas refuses to give up on Pune's semi-final hopes

Davis James
562   //    26 Nov 2016, 14:17 IST
Antonio Habas.jpg
Antonio Habas urges team to fight till the end

FC Pune City's chances of making it to the semi-finals have diminished following their 2-1 loss in the Indian Super League to Kerala Blasters on Friday night at Kochi. However, head coach, Antonio Habas has not given up hope on making it to the semi-finals despite Pune having only one match left to play in the league stage.

After a thrilling 4-3 win over the Delhi Dynamos, Habas would have hoped that his team would carry forward that momentum until the end of the league matches. But, Pune went on to lose their next two games, one against NorthEast United and the other against Kerala. Now, with one match left for Pune in the league, they have to win that and hope that teams above them lose.

Habas believe that the injury to Gustavo Oberman foiled Pune's plans and strategies for the game and that ended up in giving the upper hand to Kerala. The coach also lamented the conceding of an early goal.

“We conceded the goal too early in the game. After which we had an injury... all these things changed our system, our formation and our plan. We had three very good chances very close to their goal post that we should have scored twice,” Habas said.

Despite having just 15 points from 13 games and being fifth in the table with only one game remaining, Habas remained hopeful of making it to the semi-final stage. Habas criticised the scheduling of Pune City's fixtures lambasting the fact that their last three league fixtures are all away from home.

“I think that we can get a maximum of 18 points. It is not impossible. The last three games are all away games, travelling a lot around India from north to south, it’s crazy. This season only FC Pune City are playing their last three games of the league stage away from home,” Habas said.

Pune missed out on the services of their star midfielder, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, and his presence would have made things different against Kerala. Habas revealed that Lyngdoh could not make it to the side due to being down with the flu.

The Stallions will face Habas' former club, Atletico de Kolkata on December 2 in their last league fixture of the season. Even if Pune don't qualify for the semi-finals, Habas will want to get another win over his former employers and finish the season on a high.

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