Pune, Jan 23: FC Pune City have a chance to move to the top of the table in the Indian Super League (ISL) should they mage to defeat Jamshedpur FC at the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium here on Wednesday.
Pune have 19 points from 11 matches and are placed third at the moment but can jump two places, above Bengaluru FC and Cheniyin FC.
That would be a good return for a team with so much of attacking talent at its disposal and coach Ranko Popovic, returning to the team after a four-match suspension, feels they deserve their place among the best teams.
Defeats against Cheniyin FC and Bengaluru FC at home held them back, although Popovic has no doubt that they were the better side in both games.
“We have played some good games here. If we consider only the result, then its different,” Popovic said during the pre-match media interaction when it was put to him that Pune City have lost three times at home.
“We’ve played nice, good and organised. Until the red card, we were the better team (against Bengaluru FC); they didn’t have a shot on goal. Cheni shot once in the first half from outside the box and won 1-0,” added the Serbian coach.
Pune City’s biggest threat has been their attacking force and Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell admitted they are among the most feared, particularly star striker Marcelinho, who walked away with the Golden Boot award last season and now already has six goals and five assists.
“They have some strong players from the attacking sense, some good players. We cannot hide that fact. We have to do our best to deal with that and at the same time make them do some work going the other way,” said Coppell.
Coppell took Kerala Blasters to the fil last season and only lost on pelties against ATK. With Jamshedpur, who are making their debut, he has still not made it to the top four but the coach remains pleased with the team’s progress.
“Absolutely delighted that we are on Pune City’s coat-tails,” said Coppell, pointing out that they are just three points behind their rivals after 11 matches.
Jamshedpur are placed fifth with 16 points from 11 matches and can move to the top of the table with a victory. The competition for play-off spots has been tough and Coppell said all the top four teams deserve their place at the moment.
“It’s open for a lot of teams to make the top four and we are one of the pack, looking up enviously,” said Coppell. IANS