Tag: Emiliano Alfaro

FC Pune City has a team for playoffs, says Iain Hume

Pune: In a team that has likes of Emiliano Alfaro, Marcelinho, adding Iain Hume makes it the most potent striking force. FC Pune City’s Iain Hume feels with him and the new players added, the team can surely do something they haven’t done in the past.

“To be honest, two (Alfaro and Marcelinho) of them for the last two years and myself for four years, we score goals, we work hard for the team. So I think everyone will expect us to keeping scoring goals and win the league but that isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to be a lot more competitive league this year. We are just going to continuing doing what we have for our teams and maybe do something for the team that we haven’t in the past,” said Hume on the sidelines of his team’s pre-season training in Goa.

The Canadian striker is Indian Super League’s highest goal-scorer with 28 goals in 59 appearances moved from Kerala Blasters FC to the Pune franchise earlier this season. For him, getting back on his feet is the biggest target than maintaining his top billing. “FC Pune City is doing everything to make me fit and that’s what my plan is, to get back to playing games,” said Hume.

For now, Hume is undergoing a strict recovery regime but seeing his club’s current squad in the pre-season, he is confident of the club making it to playoffs to begin with. “We have a right mix of experience and youth in the side and realistically we should look for a spot in playoffs and from their look at going into the finals,” Hume said.

He feels his addition along with other signings should influence the side in going that one step further. “Adding myself and couple of others, we are hoping that we can influence a little bit and who knows maybe go a step further than semifinals or maybe more,” Hume explained.

Ask him about Kerala and the prospect of facing his former side in Kochi, Hume is quick to profess his love and respect for the fans there. “I know the Kerala fans are incredible and they follow their team everywhere. The love and respect is mutual and I know it’s going to be hard to go there and play for us, but we have got a squad which is confident of achieving good results,” concluded Hume.

ISL 4: Pune City fight back to go on top

Pune: Emiliano Alfaro scored his first goal after a long five game drought and Gurtej Singh logged his first ever goal in the Indian Super League as FC Pune City fought back from a goal down in first 45 minutes to defeat Jamshedpur FC 2-1 and take the top spot at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium, Pune, on Wednesday.

Jamshedpur probably would have believed momentarily, they were on their way to the top four for the first time when the recent recruit Wellington Priori gave them a 29th minute lead.

However, fortunes changed in the second half as Pune City came back into the match and took full points with goals from Gurtej Singh (62nd minute) and Emiliano Alfaro (66th minute).

The three points were crucial for Pune City as they returned to the top of the table with 22 points from 12 matches, now ahead of Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC, both of whom have a match in hand. Jamshedpur are placed fifth with 16 points and were left to rue their missed opportunity to move into the top four.

Much of the home team’s victory today can be attributed to a smart double substitution from Pune City coach Ranko Popovic, who returned to the dug-out for the first time after serving a four-match suspension.

With the match drifting out of their hand, Popovic chose to make a double substitution at half time as he brought in Marko Stankovic (for Jonatan Lucca) and Sarthak Golui (for Isaac Vanmalsawma).

The change worked as Pune City had more thrust going forward and they managed to cancel the first half goal scored by Wellington. It was a howler from the goalkeeper in the 29th minute that allowed Jamshedpur to surge ahead as Vishal Kaith clashed with his own player and allowed Wellington a free aim at goal. Wellington took that chance and scored with the outside of his foot.

In the second session, Pune City struck back. They scored the first in the 62nd minute as Gurtej headed home a corner-kick from inside a crowded goalmouth and then Emiliano Alfaro – who had missed an unbelievable sitter in the opening half — made amends as he was on hand to turn home a beautiful ball by strike partner Marcelinho.

Marcelinho himself could have added his name to the scoresheet but goalkeeper Subrata Paul came to his side’s rescue in a one-on-one situation with the man who won the Golden Boot last year.

Jamshedpur should have taken at least a point from this game but lacked sharpness upfront. They created several chances to get an equalizer but could not finish it off as the final touch was found wanting.

ISL 4: Pune City storm into top four with clinical win over Goa

Fatorda (Goa): FC Pune City leaped into fourth place after a brilliant 2-0 win over FC Goa at the Fatorda At here on Saturday. By dishing out another impressive counter-attacking performance, they snapped the home side’s streak of three consecutive wins.

It looked like both teams would cancel each other out until the 72nd minute when Marcelinho threaded a pass forward for Emiliano Alfaro, who clinically buried it past Laxmikant Kattimani. Alfaro had a chance to double the lead two minutes later but his shot didn’t have enough pace and was cleared away.

However, Pune finally had their second goal in the 84th minute when Jonatan Lucca gleefully converted after Mandar Rao Dessai’s clearance deflected into his path.

Despite having the better first half, Pune had to work hard and dig deep at times with Goa coming at them in full force in the second period. This was exemplified with Vishal Kaith’s triple save in the 70th minute, when he saved shots from Ferran Corominas, Brandon Fernandes and Manuel Arana as chaos ensued in the Pune box.

Apart from setting up the first goal, Marcelinho was heavily involved in the game, his swept effort and a ballooned shot coming seconds apart from each other in the 50th minute. But he was also in the middle of a penalty shout which the referee waved away. But while they have the attacking verve, Pune won this game on the merit of sitting deep and defending smartly.

They had to soak in a lot of pressure in the first 10 minutes of the match after Mandar and Brandon both got into dangerous areas only to see their shots blocked. It was interesting for Goa to try the long-ball tactic early on, but Pune’s defenders held tight and defended with ease.

But after that cagey start, the game suddenly opened up when Corominas dinked the ball over goalkeeper Kaith, but his attempt clipped the woodwork as the first notable warning shot was fired by the home side. Pune had a glorious chance themselves. Marcelinho was the architect with some incredibly individual ability, setting up Alfaro to tap in, which the striker somehow missed in front of an open net. With frustration setting in for Alfaro, he struck from distance, but his blistering shot was palmed away by Laxmikant Kattimani.

Diego Carlos and Manuel Lanzarote then carved out two half chances, but both went begging as some good goalkeeping and profligacy in front of the net meant the score stayed 0-0 at the break. The game had to come to life at some point, and when it did, Goa looked out of ideas going forward, allowing Pune to hit them on the break and take a valuable three away points.

Ranko Popovic’s methods are finally working, and Pune will host NorthEast United with a lot of confidence in their next match, which is on December 30.

ISL 4: Win drought against Chennaiyin doesn’t bother Pune City

Pune: FC Pune City coach Ranko Popovic has been left in no doubt that FC Pune City can put an end to their win drought against Chennaiyin FC in their fourth round clash of the Indian Super League at Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Sunday.

Pune City have not defeated Chennaiyin FC since inception of the ISL four years ago. But as the two teams square-off in Pune, the hosts are in ebullient mood.

“This is one more reason to be motivated,” the Pune City coach said during the pre-match media briefing.

In the previous six encounters between the two teams, the Chennai side has been victorious on four occasions, while two matches have ended in draws.

“Whatever has happened in the past can be changed; that should be our motivation. But even bigger motivation will be to get all three points. I’m looking forward to one good performance from my players. We need to play well,” said Popovic.

FC Pune City will be high on confidence. Popovic’s side comes into the game on the back of two consecutive victories, the last one against local rivals Mumbai City FC. Popovic’s side has also been in great goal-scoring form, scoring nine goals in three matches with striking duo Marcelinho and Emiliano Alfaro regularly finding the back of the net.

Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory is aware of the threat the two frontmen will pose to his side. The visitors have struck good form too after a disappointing 2-3 loss against FC Goa in the opener and the coach believes his team needs to keep things tight at the back.

“We need to be at our best against Pune. Two of their boys have grabbed all the headlines in the last couple of games. Alfaro and Marcelinho are playing outstanding. They have scored goals between them. And we’ll certainly need to be at our best to try to keep those two quiet,” said Gregory.

When asked if Pune’s gruelling fixture list that saw them play three games in eight days will be an advantage to his side, Gregory simply brushed it off.

“They are on a very good run at the moment. When the games come, the players are always ready. When you are winning, when you are playing really well, scoring lots of goals, you can get up and play the next morning. I don’t think it really matters,” he said.

ISL 4: Second-half push helps Delhi Dynamos pip Pune

PUNE: A terrific second-half display from youngster Lallianzuala Chhangte helped Delhi Dynamos register an impressive 3-2 victory over FC Pune City in their Indian Super League opener at Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium, Pune, on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old from Mizoram created the first goal for Delhi before netting one for himself on a memorable evening.

Paulo Henrique Dias Da Cruz, Chhangte and Matias Mirabaje scored three second-half goals for the winners, while Emiliano Alfaro and Marcos Tebar were on the scoresheet for Pune City.

After the opening 45 minutes saw Delhi Dynamos dominate possession without creating any opportunities, the game turned on its head in the second half.

It took Delhi only a minute in the second half to open their account. After some hard work down the left-flank, Chhangte sent in a delightful cross at the near post where Paulo Henrique Dias Da Cruz did the rest to hand Delhi the lead.

Eight minutes later, Chhangte found himself clear on goal after Delhi defender Gurtej Singh failed to clear the ball to safety. Chhangte coolly lifted the ball over onrushing FC Pune City goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh to double the advantage.

Delhi looked in complete control of the game and looked more likely to score. And they did in the most spectacular way in the 65th minute. After working a short corner, Matias Mirabaje unleashed a curling left-footer from the edge of the box that found the top corner of the nets.

After Mirabaje’s goal, the match looked done and dusted. However, just two minutes later, Pune pulled one back. Sarthak Golui’s cross found Emiliano Alfaro just outside the box, and the Uruguayan smashed a low shot past Delhi goalkeeper Albino Gomes.

Bouyed by the goal, Pune pushed for a second goal but Delhi defended resolutely. The hosts eventually reduced the deficit to just one through Marcos Tebar in the third minute of added time but it proved too little too late.