New Delhi: NorthEast United FC take on FC Pune City at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati in Match 32 of the Indian Super League.
The Highlanders are fifth on the table with 9 points from 7 games. While, Pune are in third place with 11 points from their first 7 games.
The match holds great importance to both teams as they bid to finish in the top 4 in the inaugural edition of the ISL.
Pune City could top the table with a resounding win over NEUFC. However, beating a defensively strong team with a big goal margin seems unlikely. Hence their realistic target in today's match would be pick up 2 points to go level on points with Chennai and Kolkata.
For NorthEast, a win would propel them to third place over Mumbai and Pune. More importantly, it would give the John Abraham-owned side much needed breathing space since Kerala and Goa are hot on their heels.
Hrithik Roshan's Pune have picked up form in recent weeks. They have 3 wins, 1 draw and 1 defeat in their last 5 games. While, NEUFC have struggled to win games off late. They have 3 draws, 1 win and 1 defeat in their last 5 games.
The most impressive player for NEUFC so far has been the man between the posts - Rehenesh TP. With a string of consistent performances, the goalkeeper is in contention for the Golden Glove. He has already produced 15 saves and will be expected to be at his best against an in-form Pune side.
The player to watch out for in the Pune ranks would be Israil Gurung. The winger has should boundless energy in games and his lung-bursting runs against forward and tracking back have added a new dimension to the Maharashtra-based team.
Defender Miguel Garcia will have to pay close attention to Pune's Dudu Omagbemi. The former Sporting Clube de Goa striker is in fine form. His goal against Kolkata and his performance against Chennai will mean the Nigerian is going to be a marked man in today's fixture.
Another key battle in the middle of the park will be that between Koke and Kostas Katsouranis. Both these players have been the engines of their respective teams. Their goals, assists and experience have been the driving forces for their franchises. The winner of this duel could well decide the eventual outcome the match.
Pune are clearly the team in form. But NEUFC have shown resilience in defense and are one of the hardest teams to break down in the ISL. The fanatic home support will ensure the Highlanders do not fall short of energy and put in the hard yards making it all the more difficult for Pune to win this match.