ISL 2017/18: Sergio Lobera expects an open game against FC Pune City tomorrow
FC Goa face a potential knockout game against FC Pune City.
FC Pune City is on the brink of making history. The Stallions host FC Goa tomorrow on their home turf and with a win, Pune can safeguard their place in the ISL playoffs for the first time in their history. They can also do a double over Goa as it was Pune who ended the Gaurs' juggernaut of a start earlier in the campaign.
Ranko Popovic, Pune's man in charge was naturally upbeat ahead of the clash against FC Goa in his pre-match press conference. But the Serbian was not getting carried away with the talks of securing the second spot and also because FC Goa are currently in a disastrous run of form.
"They (Goa) are basically the same team that were leading the table in December, having the same players and the same manager. We cannot underestimate them," said a cautious Popovic. He also added that his men are not looking at all the standings calculations at the moment and are only focusing on the task at hand.
Popovic added, "I'm only concerned about the performance. We do not think the job is over and anyone thinking like that is wrong. I want us to qualify for the semis in front of our supporters but the quality performance from the players is the most important."
Meanwhile, Sergio Lobera of FC Goa was confident that his side can stop the rut that they are currently ensued in and get back to winning ways from tomorrow. The Goan side has not won in their last five matches and has picked up just nine points from their last 10 matches. From being top to now being seventh, this has been a rollercoaster of a season for Lobera and his men.
"Before the last five matches, we had done well. The most important thing is that our fate is in our own hands (Goa need to win all 3 of their remaining games) and tomorrow can be the start of something good for us. I know we can improve defensively but we have a decent goal difference (GD) and despite not scoring freely in the last few matches, we have created a number of chances," reflected Lobera.
The Goa manager expects tomorrow's game to be an open affair which has all the ingredients to provide goals galore. Lobera added that FC Pune City played defensively in the first leg at the Fatorda but expect them to play a bit more positively this time around.
Edu Garcia is suspended for the visitors whereas Emiliano Alfaro will miss Pune's last home game because of collecting four yellow cards. Meanwhile, Manuel Lanzarote is expected to start tomorrow after serving his one-match suspension.
With two attacking sides in line for a battle, expect a nail-biting encounter in Pune. But the home side is currently in better form than their opponents and have a lot going their way in recent games which makes them the favorites.