Defending champions and table-toppers Atletico de Kolkata will be looking to guarantee a last-four berth when they face a struggling FC Pune City in the Indian Super League in Kolkata on Friday.
With three wins and a draw from last four matches, the Antonio Habas-coached side has bounced back in the business end of the tournament and are fresh from a morale boosting 4-0 win over heavyweights FC Goa which gave them the top spot in the ISL table.
Kolkata are currently in sublime form with back-to-back wins at home -- against Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa -- and are now in a great position to retain the title.
The red-and-whites, after a stupendous start to the tournament, slumped a bit in absence of their Portuguese marquee signing Helder Postiga but have got into the act with the trio of Jaime Gavilan, Sameehg Doutie and Iain Hume combining superbly up front.
While Postiga is virtually ruled out of the tournament, Kolkata do not seem to be too concerned as they look to become the first team to enter the play-offs by making it 23 points from 13 matches.
Pune, on the other hand, are yet to win from five matches including two losses and the sixth-placed side must bounce back to keep their hopes alive.
To make matters worse, the visitors are yet to win an away match this season and have scored just three goals away from home.
“We definitely like to have better away games but it’s the way it is and can’t deal with it now. The immediate focus is to do well against Kolkata and we’re prepared for that,” said coach David Platt on the eve of the match.
Pune suffered a 1-3 loss in Delhi in a match where right back Moirangthem Govin Singh was red-carded after getting a second yellow card for a clumsy challenge in the box to bring Ralte Adinga down.
Besides Govin, Pune will also miss out on their central defender Gourmangi Singh, who is down with a ligament injury, while Sushant Mathew too is ruled out.