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Pune FC look to start with a bang in IFA Shield

Pune FC gets back to business with a clear objective of putting up a good show and lasting the distance when they take on Pailan Arrows in the 116th IFA Shield at the East Bengal ground on Sunday.

Having played the tournament twice before, the groups declared yesterday gives Pune FC every reason to think positive. Clubbed alongside Arrows and Meghalaya’s Ar-Hima FC prompts Pune FC Coach Derrick Pereira to say, “At the end of it all whoever be the opposition working hard is the only way out.”

Pune FC goes into the game after taking a break and regrouping a week ago.

Both teams are no newcomers to each other and have clashed thrice before with Pune FC holding the edge with a solitary victory before two successive drawn games have been the story between the two sides.

Pailan Arrows, relatively, pose to be a fighting opposition and Pune FC Coach first impression is, “They have nothing to lose in the game on the morrow,” before adding “it will be we who need to exploit the situation.”

At the face of it the last match between the two it was Pune FC who rallied to draw, but then again the lack of winning confidence of the opposition – Pailan Arrows have not won a match since the two wins in the Federation Cup– give Pune FC the edge.

While Pune FC will seek its first three points against Arrows, Pune FC coach who believes that one cannot goon past records feels the game will be a good match.

Pune FC has never made it to the semifinals in the IFA Shield. Last year Pune FC lost out when with a chance and makes up reason to go out by hitting the ground running. “The competition is a good one after the break and also works well in our build up for our final assault in the
I-League.”

As far as the Pune FC’s line up the notable exclusion will be Baldeep Singh (injured and out for a few weeks), Gurjinder Kumar (National duty) apart from regulars striker Jeje Lalpekhlua and Abhra Mondal recovering from injuries.

However, Pune FC has variety to chose from like the case of travelling with three goalkeepers Amrinder Singh, Shahinlal Meloly and Subrata Paul. The last two named are coming back from injury leaving the think-tank to take their call.

In defence, a call has to be taken on central defender Anas Edathodika (wrist injury) whereas midfield has variety though again with Lester Fernandez still to join the team after the completion of the pre-Olympic camp in Dubai a call will be need on who plays central midfield.

Upfront Pune FC top-scorer this season Mandjou Keita and Subash Singh add the experience for the game on hand.

For the record, Pune FC’s record in the IFA works out to six matches – three wins and three losses respectively. Likewise, the trip to Kolkata is the fourth this season – once for the Federation Cup and twice for I-League games and in the five matches they played overall the win over Dempo SC stands out, apart from two draws and two losses.

HEAD-2-HEAD

29/12/11 IL Arrows 1-1 Pune FC

10/04/11 IL Arrows 0-0 Pune FC

05/02/11 IL Pune FC 3-0 Arrows

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