How Diego Forlan is helping FC Pune City’s Emiliano Alfaro in ISL semifinal vs Bengaluru FC

FC Pune City’s Uruguayan striker Emiliano Alfaro, who has played and trained alongside Diego Forlan in the national side, did not score in the first leg of the Indian Super League (ISL) semifinal vs Bengaluru FC.

football Updated: Mar 10, 2018 17:09 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Indian Super League,ISL,ISL Playoffs
Emiliano Alfaro is currently the top scorer for his side in this Indian Super League season with nine goals and thanks to his heroics, FC Pune City were able to secure their maiden ISL play-off berth (semifinals vs Bengaluru FC) with one game to spare.(ISL)

FC Pune City striker Emiliano Alfaro’s two-season old Indian Super League (ISL) stint is a picture of contrasts.

The last edition of the ISL was quite bittersweet for the Uruguayan striker. The 29-year old footballer was able to establish himself as one of the hottest properties in the tournament with five goals off his first seven matches and it seemed like he will single-handedly take NorthEast United FC to the play-offs. However, his form started to dip and that proved to be a bane for his team as they missed out on the knockout berth by just two points.

This year has been a completely different story. Alfaro joined FC Pune City at the start of the campaign and his partnership with fellow Latin American forward Marcelinho has worked wonders for him. Emiliano Alfaro is currently the top scorer for his side with nine goals and thanks to his heroics, Pune City were able to secure their maiden play-off berth with one game to spare.

But, the road to the final is not easy for FC Pune City as they face table-toppers Bengaluru FC in the semis, and, although the first leg in Pune was a goalless draw, Alfaro believes that it is still an even contest.

“The first leg was a very difficult game for us. Many people may think that we played defensive football due to the away goal rule, but that is not true. We have played quite well this season and in the last game, we again gave our hundred percent. But the finishing was not great,” he said.

“They are one of the best teams in the league. They were absolutely brilliant in the group stages and when they came to Pune earlier in the tournament, we were outplayed completely. So, a draw against such a team is a good result for us ahead of the second leg,” he added.

It was a rare off-day for both Emiliano Alfaro and Marcelinho as FC Pune City failed to score a single goal for only the fourth time in this year’s competition. They were not lacking in the number of attempts, but only two of them were able to bother Bengaluru FC goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

However, the Uruguayan striker has a secret weapon up his sleeves ahead of the second-leg match in Bengaluru on Sunday. While playing for the national side, he was lucky to meet his idol Diego Forlan and the former Mumbai City FC striker’s advice may hold the key for FC Pune City.

“We keep in touch from time to time and he has been a huge guiding force in my career. He (Forlan) was one of the biggest players in Uruguayan history and against a strong team like Bengaluru FC, I will try to incorporate the things I have learnt from him over the years,” Alfaro said.

First Published: Mar 10, 2018 11:49 IST