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Pune FC out to conquer Shillong Lajong

In-form Pune FC will attempt to overcome Shillong Lajong FC, who they have never beaten, when they face off in an I-League match on Saturday.

With a seven-match unbeaten streak behind them, Pune FC will enter the match as favourites, but the biting cold, artificial pitch and a near-capacity home crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium are some of the obstacles the visitors will have to overcome.

Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira said, ‘Going by the conditions we need to acclimatise to the cold weather and the turf as well and get going.

‘Yesterday we had our first session on the pitch. So far, we’ve been playing on natural grass in the last five matches and this game is important in view of the next four being on similar surfaces.’

Both teams, so far, have met six times ever since gaining promotion. Four ended in draws and two ended in defeats for Pune.

Meanwhile, United SC will look to return to winning ways against struggling Sporting Cube de Goa.

United are placed sixth with 17 points, while Sporting Clube are in the relegation zone with just eight points from the previous 11 rounds.

The Goans, who are looking to revive their fortune under new Spanish coach Oscar Bruzon, have not been able to make much improvement and suffered one of the biggest losses when they were trounced 4-8 by Churchill Brothers.

‘I have taken over midway in the tournament and will need some time to bring the team back in shape,’ Bruzon said.
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