Can undefeated Jamshedpur defence hold Pune’s goal-hungry strikers?

Steve Coppell’s boys, the only undefeated team are yet to concede a single goal having kept four consecutive clean sheets in the ISL so far and have proved tough opponent to conquer


Emiliano Alfaro of FC Pune City tries to get past the defence of Delhi Dynamos FC during match 5 of the Hero Indian Super League between FC Pune City and Delhi Dynamos FC
Photo by: Vipin Pawar / ISL / SPORTZPICS

Jamshedpur FC are on a high after having secured their first victory in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) a few days ago. Still undefeated this season so far, they will face a different challenge when they come up against a free-scoring FC Pune City.

The Englishman is aware of the attacking threat that his opponents possess. “Pune are a top side. It is fair to say that. They arguably have the two best strikers in the league. Both Marcelinho and Emiliano Alfaro were great last year. They make a lethal combination. It will be a tough game but I think it enjoyable for everyone to watch,” Coppell said at the pre-match press conference on Saturday.

Coppell also confirmed that defender Anas Edathodika will be out of action for some time. His injury, which he sustained during Jamshedpur FC’s game against Kerala Blasters. “Anas is injured. He is not with us. He is undergoing specialist physiotherapy. As I said, he didn’t travel with the team last time because we don’t want him to travel and aggravate his injury,” he said.

Missing one of their best defenders, Coppell’s side will have their work cut out if they want to keep yet another clean sheet. FC Pune City have netted nine goals in their last four ISL encounters.

However, FC Pune City Coach Ranko Popovic believes it won’t be easy for his side to score against Jamshedpur FC. The Serbian spoke highly of Jamshedpur’s defensive organisation. “In my opinion, they are the best organised team in terms of defense. They haven’t conceded yet. It won’t be easy for us either but we’ll try to score and that is the challenge. I’m really excited about the game tomorrow,” he said.

Commenting on the pitch at Jamshedpur which was a cause of concern last time, Popovic stated, that can’t be an excuse. “We have to get on with the game. I hope its better.”  When asked if playing away from home tomorrow will be a disadvantage for his team, he replied, “Jamshedpur FC will go to play their away games and will have to face the same. We can’t use that an as excuse. Jamshedpur has the best footballing academy in the India. People love football here,” he added.

Also Read: 5 talking points as FC Goa outclassed Kerala Blasters

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