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ISL Preview: Pune look to spoil Chennai’s party as Materazzi’s side close in on semis

Photo Courtesy: ISL's official website
Photo Courtesy: ISL’s official website

FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC lock horns in the second last league fixture of the 2015 Hero Indian Super League at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex.

Chennaiyin will be eager to record a win in their last league fixture against Pune, even though a draw will be sufficient to see them through to the playoffs of the ISL.

Pune, on the other hand, have no chance of qualifying for the semifinals even if they manage to win this game, due to them recording a defeat against NorthEast in their previous fixture.

Overview

After a somewhat inconsistent season, Chennaiyin have been playing well of late, recording big wins in their last three fixtures against Kerala Blasters (4-1), Delhi Dynamos (4-0) and Mumbai City (3-0).

Although these wins have significantly boosted their semifinal chances, they still need to avoid defeat in their final league fixture against Pune City in order to progress to the knockout stages.

A draw between Pune and NorthEast would have seen the Marina Machans through to the knockout phases, but the Highlanders’ victory in that game means that the race for the last semifinal spot has gone down to the wire.

Still, Chennaiyin FC will not be complaining as their semifinal chances now lie in their own hands.

Just two weeks ago, Chennaiyin were rock-bottom in the table, having recorded very few wins. However, now the Marina Machans have a very good chance to reach the semis. And, Chennaiyin boss says that he is proud of his players for turning things around.

“I would like to congratulate the players for creating this second chance for us,” the former Italy defender told ISL’s official website. “Fourteen days ago, we were close to being the first team to be eliminated. This league is like that, that you lose two games in a row and you can find yourself at the bottom of the table. But if you win two games, you can be in the top half.”

Meanwhile Pune City will be looking to finish their 2015 ISL campaign on a positive note, even though their semifinal chances have already been extinguished.

The Stallions had a very good chance of reaching the semifinals, but a loss against NorthEast United in their previous fixture means that Pune’s pride will be the only thing at stake, when they take on Chennai on Saturday.

Pune City started off the 2015 ISL on a very positive note, recording four wins in their opening six fixtures. However, they have not been playing well of late, recording consecutive defeats in their last three fixtures.

Although Pune’s chances of beating the in-form Chennaiyin side are pretty slim, head coach David Platt insists that his team will be looking for a win on Saturday.

“Our fate may have been sealed after the last game but I think we have to go out and do our best to win because that’s what we deserve and that’s what everyone, including the fans, deserve,” the 49-year-old Englishman told ISL’s official website.

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