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Pune FC are favourites

Calcutta: A cracker of a game looks to be in store when a resurgent Prayag United SC lock horns with a rampant Pune FC in an I-League encounter, in Kalyani, on Wednesday.

Going by current form, Pune FC may hold the edge, having won five matches on the trot that propelled them to No. 2 in the league table with 28 points from 12 matches. United SC, on the other hand, were staring down the barrel before an inspired show against defending champions Dempo earned them a crucial victory.

They might still be placed four slots behind Pune FC — at sixth with 17 points from 13 appearances but the win in their previous game against a quality side has certainly been a morale-booster for coach Eelco Schattorie’s men.

Schattorie’s counterpart Derrick Pereira, thus, has his fingers crossed over the present scenario. “Our opponents are capable of beating any team, which they proved with their win over Dempo. We’ll have to set our strategy accordingly as United SC have plenty of good players,” the Pune FC coach said.

“We kept the momentum going despite having faced intense cold in the last two rounds in Shillong (against Lajong FC) and Gangtok (against United Sikkim FC). Thankfully, the conditions are more playable here,” he added.

There are no such injury concerns in the visitors’ camp, although striker Jeje Lalpekhlua is carrying a niggle, which raises a doubt or two over his availability.

Costa Rican Carlos Hernandez, whose stunning goal last Friday won the game for United SC, could face severe marking, something that Schattorie is well aware of.