Pune: Pune FC have their task cut out when they host Royal Wahingdoh FC in a top of the table I-League football clash at the Balewadi stadium here. The eighth round encounter is crucial for both sides who currently occupy the top two places in the table ahead of the short break in the schedule to accommodate India's international fixtures.
Moreover, the clash would also be the first time second placed Pune FC (12 pts) and leaders Royal Wahingdoh (13 pts) face off in any competition. Both sides go into the game on the back of contrasting results. While Royal Wahingdoh suffered a 1-2 loss to Mumbai FC at their home game at the Cooperage ground, Pune FC were held to a 1-1 draw by Sporting Clube de Goa at home.
However, having improved their performance vastly in the game against Sporting after the clashes against Mohun Bagan and Dempo SC in the previous encounters, Pune FC would be confident of their chances.
"We had a good game against Sporting last week. Despite missing a few key players, we played as per plan and created a host of chances, something we lacked in the previous games," said head coach Karim Bencherifa on the sidelines of a training session at the Pune FC training pitches in Mamurdi. "Royal Wahingdoh may be a newly promoted side, but they are not on the top of the standings for nothing. They boast some of exciting talent in their side and play a good brand of attacking football, so we need to be at our best when we face them,? he added.