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I-League Round 10: Pune FC all set for top of the table clash against Salgaocar FC .

21.11.2013 : KFC. | HOME PAGE

PFC PRESS RELEASE : Pune FC will be out on a mission against current I-League leaders Salgaocar FC in a match-up that has a lot at stake. For starts, the Round-10 encounter will be a battle between two inform teams for the top-spot. Hosts Salgaocar FC (17 pts from 8 games) are just a point ahead of Pune FC (16 pts from 7 games). Nonetheless both teams share the highest number of wins (five) and lowest number of defeats (one) in this season.

The other reason Pune FC looks eagerly to rectify in their 2013-14 campaign is the loss to Sporting Clube de Goa during their last away match at the Duler Stadium in Mapusa, Goa. Pune FC Coach Mike Snoei said: "We've had a fantastic preparation in Goa for 4-weeks. Nice to be back here. the last time though we lost, but these things do happen" "The result (against Sporting) was not good, but there were reasons for that. It's a forgotten thing. One moves on."

The encounter overall revolves around a host of significant interests. For instance, Pune FC sport the meanest defence, having let in only 3 goals (4 less than the next best defensive team) while keeping five clean sheets. The Goans, comparatively, boast the best attack in the league so far with 16 goals scored (4 more than the next best attacking team). Moreover, for Pune FC's Coach Snoei the encounter is a competitive first against the hosts coach Derrick Pereira (previously Pune FC). Both teams, however, have played out a draw in a pre-season friendly at the same venue in August.

On the opponents, the Coach said: "Salgaocar are No 1 at the moment. They will be tough to beat in Goa. They have good tactics, we've seen their strategy... we will need to be clever in our approach." For the record Pune FC boast of an ominous record against Salgaocar - having won all four I-League games against the hosts in Goa and will be keen to extend the run into another game.

The hosts, interestingly, boast of a total of five ex-Pune FC players in their ranks. First-team regulars, Nigerian defender Chika Wali and winger Karma Tsewang, former youth players, midfielder Jeevan Nalge and full-back Surjit Singh along with on-loan defender Caitano Costa. However, Costa is ineligible to play against his parent club and will sit out the fixture.

On the other hand, Pune FC also features a player in winger and local North-Goan lad Anthony D'Souza, who plied his trade for Salgaocar last season. Another old connection is Pune FC's longest-serving player medio Shanmugam Venkatesh, who in-fact as a teenager had won the old National Football League with Salgaocar, having Coach Pereira as his team-mate. Apart from Chika, Salgaocar's new foreign quartet also includes Scotsman and ex-Swansea striker Darryl Duffy (6 goals) and Frenchman Claude Gnakpa (2) who have contributed a total of eight goals between them. Aussie full-back Mathew Foschini who joined the Goans recently will also feature first time in the I-League for them.

Added to that, Salgaocar's long serving players - goalkeeper Karanjit Singh, defenders Nicolau Colaco and Augustin Fernandes and midfielders Rocus Lamare, Francis Fernandes and Gilbert Oliveira form the heart of the team. Utilizing the long break, Pune FC has worked on the fitness of several players and has several seasoned campaigners return to the team.

In fact, Pune FC have a 20-man squad at their disposal as they play back-to-back games in Goa (other being Dempo SC). Defenders Calum Angus and Zohimngliana Ralte return to the squad and are joined by goalkeeper Amrinder Singh who is back after serving his one-game suspension. Snoei was cautious about fielding Calum, "We have a fully fit squad this time around. Calum is back training with the team. However, much will depend on tomorrow whether he can play. We will take a call tomorrow on that."

Incidentally, both teams will feature players who were away on Indian national team duty in the international break. For Pune FC left-back Gurjinder Kumar joins the squad from Siliguri. In the past, midfielders Arata Izumi (2), Douhou Pierre (1) and Venkatesh (1) have netted for Pune FC against the Goans. For the hosts, captain Francis remains the only current player to have scored against Pune FC notching a brace last time the two teams met. Interestingly, it was Anthony who had scored for Salgaocar against Pune FC in the Federation Cup last season.

While a host of teammates-turned-rivals line up for the game on the morrow, the fixture without doubt is the glamour-tie of the round going by standings and form.

I-League Round 10:Shillong Lajong FC vs Rangdajied United FC .

21.11.2013 : KFC. | HOME PAGE

SLFC PRESS RELEASE : The Reds will play host to cross town rivals and debutants Rangdajied United FC in the first ever I-League Derby in Shillong on 22nd of November, 2013 at 6:00 PM at the J.N.Stadium, Shillong. The match will see the two teams square off in what will be a "historical" day. Lajong coach Thangboi Singto said in a pre match press conference today that the game will be “a big day for North East football”. Thangboi added,

"I-League is a tough league to play in and many players from the North East are playing in the league and it is a good thing for Indian Football to see North East teams represent the region." Commenting on the magnitude of the game Singto said that, "Football will be the winner tomorrow but we will look for a win."

Shillong Lajong FC will be missing key players as Jibon Singh is facing a two match ban after receiving a red card in the last game against Mohun Bagan and defender Wailadmi Passah is out after collecting 4 yellow cards so far this season.

Lajong will be looking to ride on Cornell Glen and Uilliam's good run of form where both have consistently delivered up front forming a formidable strike partnership. Glen has scored 6 goals in 7 games and Uilliams has been finding the net as well scoring 3 in the last two games. More positives could be taken from the previous game wherein an impressive all round performance from Subash Singh and resilient defending from Lajong captain, Minchol Son will add to their strengths tomorrow.

Rangdajied United FC on the other hand have not been on a good run with just 3 points and struggling at the bottom of the table. The I-Leauge newcomers recently made big changes to their squad following their poor form, signing 5 players from the IMG-Reliance league and defying the rules laid by the I-League Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA).

Speaking on the issue Rangdajied coach Santosh Kashyap said, "It was a management call". Even with the signings the team will be without the services of Edmar and Sandesh Jhingan but Eugeneson Lyngdoh will be back in the team after missing matches to injury. Eugeneson will be facing his old club tomorrow after being a part of Lajong for 2 consecutive seasons. Present at the press conference he said," It will be emotional for me and I am very grateful to them(Shillong Lajong). I have full respect for Lajong but I will be playing for a win for my club."

The Reds are looking to extend their unbeaten run to six games and a win tomorrow will assure them second place in the I-League table. Rangdajied United FC will look to get out of the relegation zone with a whole new look in their squad, looking for their first ever I-League win tomorrow. The match is expected to be a thrilling encounter with both teams fighting for bragging rights as the best team in Shillong.