| Yusif Yakubu |
New Delhi: Having made their first-ever semi-final in a major tournament, Pune FC are eager to stretch their run when they take on defending champions United SC in the 124th Durand Cup at the Ambedkar Stadium here on Wednesday. The game promises to be an exciting battle between the two sides.
Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira said that their opponents morale will be high since United are coming off from a win against Federation Cup champions Salgaocar SC. On the other hand, Pune FC have fielded a relatively young side and they were not disappointed. They fought together and their unity is their biggest strength, which got them so far in the tournament.
With three scorers — Karma Tsewang, Paresh Shivalkar and Rollingson Hyungyo finding the net, Pune FC have proved the willingness of players taking responsibility in crunch situations. Pereira said, They are no doubt on a high. They have it in them to take it further and want to reach the final.
This is the second time that both the teams will face each other in the capital. In fact, last year (2010) both were clubbed together in the group stage and went on to play a goalless draw.
Pune lost out making it to the semi-finals on goal difference, which in a way is reason enough for them to turn tables in the knockout round.
United, meanwhile, will depend on their strikers Joshimar da Silva and Yusif Yakubu. The midfield also looked good and is ably led by Denson Devadas. So the onus will be on the Pune defence on how they manage to content with United attack.
While United do not have any injury concerns, Punes left-wing back Kamaljeet Kumar has a slight niggle. He was all right in the morning, but we shall take a call on him tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, Pereira said. (PTI)