Pune, Chennaiyin desperate to end winless run
Both FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC will be vying for their first victory of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 season when the two sides lock horns at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune. Chennaiyin are currently rooted to the bottom of the table with just one point from six matches, while Pune are second last with two points from their five matches.
The teams have endured a terrible start to the season and with the chances of making it to the playoffs looking more and more unlikely every passing day, both sides will be desperate for a win to pull their season back on track.
FC Pune City
After a dismal first three games, which saw them score only once, Pune seem to have found a renewed guile in their last two outings, at least while going forward. The Stallions lost 4-2 to a rampant FC Goa away from home and then managed to hold Kerala Blasters FC to a 1-1 draw at home. Despite not being able to win either of the matches, Pune have been creating chances and scoring goals - something which was missing from the team in their initial three outings. However, interim coach Pradyum Reddy still has a lot of work in front of him if he's to turn the side into a winning unit. Along with Chennaiyin, Pune have the worst defensive record this season, having let in 11 goals but the Stallions have played one match lesser than the Marina Machans.
Pune will be hoping their star attackers, Emiliano Alfaro and Marcelo Pereira, find their scoring touch soon before its too late. The two have scored once each so far, but the numbers are far off from the level of quality associated with the two. Another big concern for Reddy will be missed penalties. Pune were awarded two spot kicks in their last two matches, but Alfaro failed to convert both. It will be interesting to see if Reddy opts to hand the penalty duties to someone else if an opportunity presents itself on Tuesday's match. One positive for the Stallions will be midfielder Adil Khan hitting form in their last match. The midfield enforcer didn’t quite make a mark in his first four outings but was the standout player against Kerala. On the flipside, Reddy will be without Diego Carlos, who is serving a two-match suspension, limiting his options up front.
Here’s a look at Pune’s current season in numbers:
The defending champions have been in disarray this season, picking up only a single point from their six outings. John Gregory's side have struggled both in defence and attack this season. As mentioned before, along with Pune, Chennaiyin have the worst defensive record in the season so far, at least ahead of Monday's match. The Marina Machans haven't had much joy in front of goal either, scoring only five in six matches, three of which came in a single match during a 4-3 loss to NorthEast United FC. With Chennaiyin's all-time top goal scorer Jeje Lalpekhlua seemingly out of form, the first-choice striker's mantle has fallen to Carlos Salom but even the Palestinian has only managed to score only once so far. The Marina Machans have the worst goal conversion rate in the season so far, having scored just five times from their 77 attempts on goal.
Along with Jeje, the talismanic Mailson Alves has also looked out of sorts this season, adding to Chennaiyin's woes. In fact, Gregory opted to drop Alves to the bench after the first three matches, and the Brazilian hasn't featured in the Chennaiyin starting XI since. It will be interesting to see if Gregory decides to shake things up against Pune and start with both Jeje and Alves.
If there's one positive the defending champions can take into Tuesday's match, it will be their record against Pune. The Marina Machans have never lost against the Stallions in the Hero ISL, winning six and drawing two in their eight meetings.
Here’s a look at Chennaiyin’s current season in numbers:
FC Pune City: Kamaljit Singh (GK), Gurtej Singh, Matt Mills, Ashutosh Mehta, Lalchhuanmawia Fanai, Adil Khan, Jonathan Vila, Nikhil Poojari, Emiliano Alfaro (C), Marcelo Pereira, Robin Singh.
Chennaiyin FC: Karanjit Singh (GK), Eli Sabia, Inigo Calderon (C), Jerry Lalrinzuala, Andrea Orlandi, Thoi Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Raphael Augusto, Isaac Vanmalsawma, Francisco Fernandes, Carlos Salom
DID YOU KNOW?
- Pune have never beaten Chennaiyin in the Hero ISL.
- Both teams have conceded 11 goals in this season so far.
- Pune have conceded 9 goals in first half, while Chennaiyin have conceded 8.
Which team will show initiative and bag their first win of the season?
- FC Pune City
- Chennaiyin FC