Pune: FC Pune City head coach Miguel Angel Portugal would not have expected to see his former employers Delhi Dynamos as early the opening fixture of the season 5 of the Indian Super League after the fixtures were announced on Saturday.
The Stallions, who played the same opposition in the opening fixture last season, would travel to Delhi on October 5, for their first match.
The team would then has a two-week break before they head to Mumbai for Maharashtra Derby against Mumbai City FC on October 19.
The Orange Army would get to see their team on the home turf three days later in a high octane clash against last season’s finalist Bengaluru FC. Football fans across the country would keep their eyes on the calendar for that particular match as both teams produced four excellent games last season.
Pune, who has never beaten current title holders, Chennaiyin FC, in past four seasons, would face each other on November 6 at the Balewadi Sports Complex in the city.
Two-time champions Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) will kick-off the fifth edition of the ISL on September 29 at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium) against Kerala Blaster, a team they defeated twice in the finals, as the league promises to begin on a high note.
If the clash between ATK and Kerala provides big promise, last season’s finalist’ Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC will take on each other the very next day at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru in a Southern Derby.
The Blues, now coached by Carles Cuadrat, would be hoping to extract a revenge on John Gregory’s side, who defeated them in the ISL 4 final at the same venue.
Coming back to FC Pune City, some reunions are on the cards, apart from the fact that head coach Portugal is returning to Delhi, and so is Pune’s striker Marcelinho. It would be a reunion of sorts for Spanish midfielder Marcos Tebar, who resigned for Dynamos, after spending the last season in Pune.
Indian Super League on Saturday announced the list of the fixtures for 2018-19 season until the mid-season break, featuring 12 rounds and 59 games, including two breaks for FIFA international fixtures windows.The first of the three breaks will be from October 8 to 16, while the second break will begin on November 12 and will end on November 20.
The big mid-season break for the Indian national team’s preparatory camp ahead of the AFC Asian Cup in UAE will begin on December 17.
The Indian Super League is not supposed to restart until the last week of January, but that date would be announced later.
Other change would see all matches starting at 7:30 pm and no doubleheaders on the weekends.
FC Pune City Fixtures
Oct 22: Bengaluru FC
Nov 2: Kerala Blasters
Nov 6: Chennaiyin FC
Nov 21: Jamshedpur FC
Nov 27: NorthEast United FC
Dec 11: FC Goa
Oct 3: Delhi Dynamos
Oct 19: Mumbai City FC
Oct 28: FC Goa
Nov 10: Atletico de Kolkata
Nov 20: Bengaluru FC
Dec 7: Kerala Blasters