Pune, Nov 17 (IANS) Qualification to the semi-finals of the Indian Super League (ISL) football isn’t granted for any team yet, under-pressure FC Pune City coach Antonio Habas said on Thursday, ahead of a battle with leaders Delhi Dynamos here on Friday.
Pune badly require a win over leaders Delhi Dynamos, whose chances of qualification are brightest with 17 points from 10 matches. Habas’ Pune boys are sixth with 12 points from 10 games.
Habas won the inaugural ISL in 2014 with Atletico de Kolkata and led the team to semi-finals last year, losing to eventual champions Chennaiyin FC.
Pune will bank on Habas’ experience to secure a last-four spot. The match against Delhi Dynamos t the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium is a must-win contest for them to keep their hopes alive.
“We are on the hunt for a win. This league is very tough and all teams are in a similar situation. We are ready to grab these three points,” Habas said during a pre-match media interaction here, according to an ISL release.
Pune were flying high after victories over Atletico de Kolkata and Mumbai City FC but they were grounded by Chennaiyin, who scripted a comfortable 2-0 victory in their last clash.
Habas admitted losing all points was a setback but all is still not lost for his team.
“All teams, except Delhi, are close (to each other on the table). The teams who play better and score goals will be the ones who make less mistakes. If you look at the points table, it’s all about plus or minus two points difference. Now it’s all about minimising mistakes,” said the Spanish coach.
Delhi coach Gianluca Zambrotta stressed that his team hasn’t yet achieved their primary target of qualification and that could happen on Friday if they beat Pune.
“At the moment we are in a good position but we are (still) a long way off from the play-offs. It’s a strong league. The next four matches will not be easy. We have to take match by match. Right now our focus is only on this match against Pune,” said the Italian.
A 10-man Delhi played out a 2-2 draw against Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) in their last match. Zambrotta will miss the suspended midfielder Milan Singh who scored against ATK.
“I know Pune lost the last match (against Chennaiyin) but they have won two successive games against Kolkata and Mumbai. They are a difficult team and have good quality players,” said Zambrotta.