Pune FC will hope to take a leaf out of their past dominance over Dempo SC when they face the Goan heavyweights in an I-League Round-11 encounter at the Duler Stadium in Mapusa on Wednesday.
Having won six of the 10 encounters in the league and Federation Cup over the years, Pune FC will be out to exploit the indifferent run the hosts have had so far. For the side from Pune, the primary objective will be to put on an improved show to secure their first win in the coastal state this season.
In Goa, Pune FC have so far played twice and ended up with contrasting results having lost to Sporting Clube de Goa and drawn with Salgaocar FC. A positive result on Wednesday would help Pune FC move to the summit of the I-League.
Coach Mike Snoei said: “It’s a good opportunity to take the lead again, which in itself is good motivation for my boys to start. I must add that we respect the opponents and I believe we can do a good job.”
Hosts Dempo SC (10 points, nine games) are currently eighth in the table, while Pune FC (17 points, nine games) are third just a point behind leaders Salgaocar FC and Bengaluru FC. Both teams go into the game with results not going on expected lines. While Pune FC came from a goal down to draw 1-1 against Salgaocar, the hosts were subjected to a 1-2 home defeat by United SC.
After many years of success under their former coach Armando Colaco, Dempo SC are in a phase of transition under new coach Arthur Papas and have completely revamped their squad. Snoei said Dempo as a side were struggling and needed time to regroup and progress. “One thing I must say is in their last game (vs United SC) they were a better lot, but ended the match with the result not going their way,” he said.
While a few players like goalkeeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury and defender Debabrata Roy, along with midfielders Peter Carvalho and Clifford Miranda, continue to be an integral part of the new set-up, most of the remaining positions have seen an entirely different set of players step in. Dempo’s foreign quartet of former player and Brazilian playmaker Beto, along with new players in Aussie defender Simon Colosimo, Japanese defender Shinnosuke Honda and Irish target-man Billy Mehmet haven’t yet been able to adapt to the