Chennaiyin face Pune City hurdle

Elias Hubbard
January 14, 2018

"We lost today's game but we did not lose to a better team", lamented the Serbian. Just below them in the table, Chennaiyin FC are also a testament to the virtues of continuity in the league with their 2017-18 squad comprising of as many as 10 players from last season.

"It (late goals) won't happen again". They will break away a bit to play in the AFC Cup qualifiers, a move which I feel will enable them to gel more as a unit.

Pune got four points from their last two matches while coach Ranko Popovic was serving a four-match ban. The way we conceded goals hurts us. While hosts Chennaiyin FC are now second, FC Pune City are only a point behind in third. Of the other major teams, Bhutia singled out Pune City's attacking instincts but felt they struggled on their home turf, and gave credit to Kerala Blaster's new manager David James for installing a new spark in the franchise. We will miss him surely but I know our team has quality. We do attack well.

Meanwhile, Pune's assistant coach Vladica Grujic was clear about his team's objectives for the match. But we are equally strong in every department but our strength is in defence.

Bhutia, 41, also praised Jeje Lalpekhlua's striking abilities for Chennaiyin FC - he is the leading Indian scorer with six goals.

"They will come hard at us". "We are lucky that our captain (Henrique Sereno) is coming back".

Pasha noted that the side's defence had done really well to curb Pune's ferocious attack and earn itself a hard-fought win.

Injuries have hit Raphael Augusto's chances of grabbing regular first team minutes but Pasha expects the Brazilian to be part of the game at some point. "This is a new team with new players and these are just statistics and we are confident of changing that" he said.

The head coaches of both sides are serving the touchline suspension in the game and both teams will receive instructions from their assistant coaches.

Despite missing a penalty shot, Chennaiyin FC propelled to the top of the table as substitute Gregory Nelson's solitary goal propelled the home side to top of the table after defeating FC Pune City 1-0 at the Marina Arena, Chennai on Saturday in Hero Indian Super League.

"Anybody can win the league".

"We have achieved nothing yet because you can be first, fourth or last".

We are nearly at the half-way mark in the Indian Super League (ISL) and the points-table has started to take shape. "We need to take each game as it comes", he concluded.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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