Its been a pleasure for us as this season of ISL games starts form Northeast FC home ground Guwahati. We always fight united in the soccer leauge, and we sure that NeuFc will definitely won the tittle as many highly qualified players in the squad. Highlanders C’mon, we will win this year tittle.. I love NorthEast United FC.. We support #NEUFC..
The 2016 Indian Super League table topper NorthEast United FC will travel to Pune this Wednesday to face Pune City FC. Both teams will be looking to win the next match to keep up their progression in ISL season 3. The visitors have made their strongest start in the ISL history with two wins against Kerala and Goa and a loss in their last match against Mumbai. Meanwhile, Pune has endured a mixed season with a loss against local rivals Mumbai and a lucky win against Goa in the dying minutes of the match.
FC Pune City has had relatively a contrasting campaign so far. They played well in their first match against Mumbai City FC, but lost to an excellent goal from Matias Defederico. Then a Momar Ndoye special in the last minute of regulation time against FC Goa gave them their first three points in five ISL games since last season.
While head coach Antionio Habas is yet to organize his troops from the sidelines, Pune have shown promise, particularly in the midfield where Jonatan Lucca has been a leader and their best player so far. Their defence has also been solid with Eduardo Ferreira and Gouramangi Singh putting in dependable performances. However, their main problem lies elsewhere – in attack.
Tato, their central point up front has had four shots on goal with two on target so far. In attack, Argentine Gustavo Oberman and then Anibal Zurdo were used against MCFC and FC Goa respectively but neither was efficient as they had a tally of three shots in total between them. Playing against a NorthEast side that are compact and have looked difficult to break down this season, Pune’s attack will be something that they will need to focus on.
NorthEast United FC sits pretty at the top of the table with two wins and a loss. Under Nelo Vingada’s tutelage, they have looked well-oiled side with steady defence and nippy attack.
With wins in their first two games, an unnecessary challenge from Reagan Singh on Pronoy Halder made way for Mumbai to take the last game through a Forlan penalty.
Emiliano Alfaro, Nicolas Velez and Holicharan Narzary in the front have always looked dangerous on the counter and together with Katsumi Yusa, who has been disciplined in midfield and sharp in the attacking third, they will ideally be the men who will pose FCPC the most number of problems.
The last time when NorthEast played Pune away, a late own goal proved to be the difference-maker in the former’s win. Overall, they have an impressive record away from home with two wins and a draw in their last four trips.
“We got three games in our home next and these games are very crucial for us to get the nine points which will help us to go ahead in the league and qualify for the semis. We start with NorthEast and we know they are in good form but we are playing at home and with this win, it will increase our confidence to play well,” – FC Pune City Asistant coach Miguel
“I believe that we are building a good team with very good organisation. I am proud of the players even though we made some mistakes, missed a couple of chances… But this is football, these mistakes happen because we play with men and not with robots and machines. I am leaving with this performance and not the result. I am leaving Mumbai more optimistic than I was even before we lost.” – NorthEast United head coach Nelo Vingada.
Pune City FC (4-4-1-1): Bete; Raju, Ferreira, M’rangthem, Bheke; Izumi, Lucca, Ravanan, Tato; Sissoko; Rodriguez.
NorthEast United FC (4-1-3-2): Paul; Gurung, Lazaretti, Mailson, Singh; Borges; N’dri, Halicharan, Katsumi; Alfaro, Velez.
Playing away in Pune will be tough as the hosts looked at home against their local rivals Mumbai. However, NorthEast is flying at the moment and was unlucky to lose against Mumbai. Velez and Alfaro upfront, N’dri and Rowlin in midfield and Paul between the posts provide the looks of a formidable side. We are going for a hard fought away win.
Our Prediction: Pune City FC 0 – NorthEast United FC 1
The long wait is finally over as the third edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) commence in Guwahati today. NorthEast (NEUFC) United return to the venue where they started their ISL campaign and play a team they beat 1-0 in 2014. However, they been unsuccessful to win in three subsequent encounters against Kerala, what will give them determination to beat Kerala. NEUFC are coached by Nelo Vingada, who has the experience of having worked with youngsters when he assisted Carlos Queiroz as Portugal claimed two World Youth Championship titles in 1989 and 1991, and that should come in handy in a team where the importance has forever been on working with younger players.
Kerala Blasters (KBFC) got their ISL season going with a win against the NEUFC in the opening game last year. After that their season was marred by lack of stability in management, loss of form of their key players, and an inability to hold on to games after starting brightly. Not unexpectedly, their last win in the ISL came in the middle of November last year, a superb 4-1 win in this corresponding fixture. A 3-3 draw in their last league game, however, destined them to last place in the league standings, and also an undesirable record of least points scored in a year (13), taking the record from NEUFC, who had registered 15 in 2014. This year, the managerial reigns have been handed over to Englishman Steve Coppell, and with forward Michael Chopra and defender Cedric Hengbart returning to the team hoping to rediscover their old form.
The NEUFC pre-season was shambles with their late appointment of head coach, their lack of pre-season fixtures and absolutely lousy management of pre-season. Their two summer signings, Fabio Neves and Sasha Aneff, are injured and will sit out of the opening clash, providing Portuguese manager Nelo Vingada with a selection headache ahead of the opener. The injuries are a definite setback but with so much of options available elsewhere, Vingada should not be worrying much. The Highlanders’ strength lies in midfield with the likes of Yusa Katsumi, Seityasen Singh, Fanai Lalrempuiaand and Didier Zokora expected to dominate the battle in midfield. Argentinean striker Nicolas Velez is a safe upfront bet while Mailson Alves will be the key man in defense.
Kerala Blasters have big ambitions of their own and will look for full points as they launch their season away from home. With Steve Coppell now managing the team, Kerala Blasters have an experienced campaigner whose expertise and experience will be needed all through the season campaign. The blasters strength lies in defense where Northern Ireland star Aaron Hughes shall shoulder heavy responsibilities alongside Cedric Hengbart who returns to the team after a year with NorthEast United FC.
Players like Elhadji Ndoye and Azrack Mahamat can be used in multiple positions giving Coppell with plenty of options. Antonio German, who scored six times while also providing three assists for Kerala Blasters last season, will be the key man upfront and could possibly be joined by either Mohammad Rafi or Thongkhosiem Haokip, only the second Indian to score a hat trick in the ISL.
Managers Comments on the eve of the opening match
“The amount of enthusiasm here is just great. I am feeling something that I never felt before in different places like in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Korea or Japan,” – NorthEast United head coach Nelo Vingada.
“I think our team has mobility. We have some pace in attack and that is important. But there is no recipe for success. In ISL 1, they scored 9 goals and reached the semi-finals, last year they scored 20 but finished bottom. It’s not just about goals but it’s about the blend,” – Kerala Blasters head coach Steve Coppell.
NorthEast United FC (4-4-2): Paul; Gurung, Lazaretti, Mailson, N. Chettri; Rowlin, Zakora, Halicharan, Katsumi; Alfaro, Velez.
Kerala Blasters (4-3-3): Stack; Ishfaq, Hengbart, Hughes, Jhingan; Josue, Mehtab, Vinit; Nazon, Mohd. Rafi, German.
Kerala have an organized unit under Steve Coppell, However, NEUFC can beat anyone on a given day. Nevertheless, NEUFC will have to play a blinder to win today. Velez could be a key today as he reminds me of fellow argentine, Aguero. Hope, his come back to the NEUFC can ignite this season of ISL with his speed, trickery and clinical finishing.
My Prediction: NorthEast United FC: 2 – Kerala Blasters: 1