“Iou have to feel a little for the fans of FC Pune City and Dehli Dynamos, watching all the other sides get underway over the weekend and knowing their match was still days away.
But, the wait is over and both fans will get their fix in Pune today.
Pune City Head Coach Ranko Popovic is ready to go, saying
“I think we are good. We are okay. The preparation time was good and the players are excited”.
He isn’t convinced that his side have an advantage by starting their campaign at home, however, adding
“I don’t think like this. Three points at home. three points away, it’s the same three points. Of course, at home, we will have support. They can push us and give us more energy. For me, I want my team to play the same kind of football home or away”.
The Serbian coach is already worried about the levels of expectation on the shoulders of their two main foreign start, ex-Barca Academy product Tebar and striker Marcelinho, insisting
is it possible for Tebar and Marcelinho to take the whole weight of the game? No. They need support. Everyone is exactly important like Marcelinho and Tebar.”
His opposite number Miguel Angel Portugal is very happy with his squad, saying
“It’s our first match and for us, it is important to start well. We had a two-month long preseason in Spain, Qatar and India. This first match is a test for what’s the performance of my team. Now the team is in position to play”.
Both teams are expected to line up in a 4-3-3 shape, and from what we have seen in preseason you can expect Pune to be pressing hard and high up the pitch. Dehli are likely to play a more patient possession orientated game, similar in style to the one shown by Teddy Sheringham’s ATK on the opening day.
Uche is likely to lead the line for Dehli and be their main goal threat, but keep an eye on young Dutchman Jeroen Lumu and Indian Lallianzuala Chhangte who are likely to be on the flanks. A lot will also depend on the performance of Gabriel Cichero at the heart of their defence and Paulinho Dias in the middle of the park.
Pune City will be relying on Isaac Vanmalsawma and Marcos Tebar to set the tone in midfield with Marcelinho posing a threat from the wing. Rafa Lopez will be crucial at the back and no doubt will have the responsibility of marking Uche.
With very little to choose between these two sides, we could well be in for another draw in the first round of ISL matches.