Kochi, Jan 19: Pune FC will hope to end their Federation Cup 2014 campaign on a high when they face Churchill Brothers SC in the last group game at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here Monday.
The clash will be the first time both teams meet in any competition outside the I-League.
After a draw and a loss in their opening two rounds, Pune FC’s hopes of making it to the next round faded away and a win on the morrow will give them confidence ahead of their all-important AFC Champions League play-off clash in Pune later this month.
On the other hand, Churchill Brothers have all but qualified for the knockout stage with two consecutive wins over United SC and Eagles FC in the opening two rounds.
Churchill Brothers had been in poor form coming into the tournament lying at the very bottom of the league table. However, the mid-season break has done wonders for the I-League defending champions who have been the in-form team in Group-A, topping the table.
New-signings striker Anthony Wolfe (Trinidad and Tobago’s World-Cupper) and Egyptian attacker Abdelhamid Shabana have been in great form for the Goans. Shabana has scored two out of Churchill’s four goals while club’s top-scorer Balwant Singh has chipped in with the other two.
Coach Mike Snoei will hope for a better performance from his team after two disappointing results leaving the team winless in eight games.
However, the team will take confidence from the fact that the last time these two teams met, Pune FC came out on top thanks to a Calum Angus goal in Balewadi.
Over the years, both teams have faced each other nine times in the I-League. With either side wining four times, a win Monday will give Pune FC an edge in the head-to-head.