The team who finally qualified for a playoff spot last season was FC Pune City, and it is expected that this team is going to be built on the basis of the momentum they’ve generated. The team focuses more on playing short-passes and known to frustrate the opposition and break them down mentally en route of winning games they played in the Indian Super League.
FC Pune City relies heavily on the midfield they have. The fact that they can pass their way around the other teams, and score goals by controlling the pace is an asset when things get tough. With the likes of Emiliano Alfaro and Marcelinho as forward players, the system works well and has attained them considerable success as well.
Meanwhile, that does leave them a bit short-handed if Plan A backfires. This was the problem for the team last time out, when the other team tackled their possession-based football with counter-attacks, FC Pune City looked clueless. They have made signings and even brought in the former Delhi Dynamo manager in Miguel Portugal to have a wider array of weapons.
Coach: Miguel Portugal
Stadium: Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium, Pune
The Englishman is the most experienced player in terms of appearance in ISL, and he knows what needs to be done to win games. The forward is entering the twilight of his career but still knows how to score goals.
Indian winger Gabriel Fernandes is arguably the most experienced winger hailing from the country. The years of grinding his game makes him an important player for the team, who would not flinch from trying something flamboyant when the situations ask for a special moment.
Fourth place (2017)
Goalkeepers: Kamaljit Singh, Vishal Kaith and Anuj Kumar.
Defenders: Ashutosh Mehta, Gurtej Singh, Sahil Panwar, Matt Mills, Sarthak Golui, Keenan Almeida, Lalchhuanmawia and Martín Díaz.
Midfielders: Jonathan Vila, Shankar Sampingiraj, Rohit Kumar, Adil Khan, Marko Stankovic, Abhishek Halder, Alwyn George and Nikhil Poojari.
Forwards: Robin Singh, Gabriel Fernandes, Marcelo Pereira, Emiliano Alfaro, Ashique Kuruniyan, Diego Carlos and Iain Hume