NorthEast United FC and FC Pune City will be still looking to secure their Indian Super League (ISL) semi-finals qualification spots when they play against each other in Guwahati on Wednesday in spite of their recent struggles.
Both NorthEast United and FC Pune City find themselves in a similar do-or-die situation of making it to the Final 4 but both teams are keeping faith in their abilities.
NorthEast are placed fourth on the table with 17 points from 13 matches. With Atletico de Kolkata, FC Goa and Delhi Dynamos already qualifying for the semis, there is only one spot up for grabs. NorthEast have only one match in hand and will have to hope that other results go their way even if they win that match.
FC Pune City are in a slightly better position as they are currently sixth with 15 points and have an extra match in hand. Win in the next two games will almost guarantee their qualification for the last-four stage if the other results work out in their favour. But Pune have not won any of their six away matches played so far and are also winless in the last five matches.
“It’s true that we had a big possibility in the last game but we let it slip through our hands. But it is also true that we still have a possibility. It’s not impossible. You have got to keep going and concentrate on what’s coming up next,” NorthEast United coach Cesar Farias said during the pre-match media briefing on Tuesday.
“We’ll fight till we have the slightest of chances to make it. These are big games and a win can make all the difference for us. It’s a big game and necessary (to win) for both teams. We will have to risk a lot of things,” said Farias.
Pune FC coach David Platt said his team is looking forward to the game and said they are only thinking about a win.
“Now we know where we are and what we need to do. It’s still in our own hands, we depend on our own results. It’s about looking forward to this game rather than looking back to the last one,” said Platt.
In their last match, FC Pune City was defeated 1-4 by Atletico de Kolkata.
“It’s gone, nothing that we can do about it. When you concede so many goals, you cannot win games. It’s goals that change games,” said Platt.
Platt said midfielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh is suspended for the crucial clash while defender Gouramangi Singh is ruled out of the tournament with an injury.