Pune: Three wins and two defeats is the equation of Puneri Paltan in the last five matches, which they have played in their home leg till now at Balewadi Sports Complex.
Out of the two losses, one came against Gujarat Fortunegiants in their first home match of this season. Puneri Paltan will be facing the same opponent in their last home match on Friday.
Pune, which has 79 points from 21 matches, are placed second in Zone ‘A’ while Gujarat is holding the fort with 82 points from the same number of matches.
The winning team will get five points and that is enough for Pune to dethrone Gujarat from No 1 spot.
“We had made a strategy in our first home match against Gujarat but it did not work out. This time, we will come out with few different plans. There were many things, which did not go right in the first match, this time we will give our best,” said BC Ramesh, coach of Puneri Paltan.
On the other hand, Gujarat is enjoying their dominance in Zone ‘A’ from the very beginning. Losing only four while winning 14 and drawing 3 games have helped them to stay on No. 1 position since last two months.
Till now, Gujarat has beaten Pune twice - first time in Lucknow when they beat them 35-21 and last week, when they won 44-20 at home.
“Our raiders failed to collect points while defenders were attacking early, which helped Gujarat to collect easy points. Our defenders need to have patience, which will keep raiders guessing,” added BC Ramesh.
A new Gujarat-based team has hardly put a foot wrong since the inception of the new season. Coached by Manpreet Singh, players like Sukesh Hegde, Fazel Atrachali, Abzor Mighani along with young talents like Sunil Kumar, Pravesh Bhainswal, who handles the cover position in defence, while in raiding department Mahendra Rajput, Sachin, Chandran Ranjit are coming good at every opportunity, which they have got so far.
“I still play for ONGC as an captain and also coach them, so it helps me to shape my team. All the new players listen to what I say and they apply it on mat,” said Manpreet Singh to Sakal Times.
Players to watch
Akshay Jadhav (Raider)
Kolhapur boy Akshay Jadhav has gained lots of plaudits in the last couple of matches. He has provided able support to Deepak Hooda and Rajesh Mondal in raiding department. In the seven matches, Akshay has eight raid points while he has also provided good support in defence collecting five points.
Rinku Narwal (Left corner, defender)
According to Puneri Paltan’s coach BC Ramesh, Rinku is star to watch out in future.When defender like Girish Ernak and Dharmaraj Cheralathan had an off day on the mat. Rinku has collected 14 tackle points in 10 matches.
Parvesh Bhainswal, (Left cover, defender)
Parvesh Bahinswal has collected 41 tackle points in 21 matches and he has become a lethal weapon in Gujarat’s den.
Sunil Kumar, (Right cover, defender)
Following in the footsteps of Parvesh, Sunil too has impressed all with his tactics. Sunil and Parvesh have made it a habit of hunting in a pair, which has proved to be successful for Gujarat team. Sunil has collected 45 points in 21 matches.