Pune FC take on in-form Viva Kerala

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Pune, Feb 25 (PTI) Pune FC will need to be cautious of anin-form Viva Kerala if they are to extend their three-matchunbeaten streak in the I-League.

Viva''s 7-1 home win over Air India, incidentally thebiggest margin of victory in the league, must have given thema much-needed boost ahead of their round 16 clash againstDerrick Pereira''s boys at the Balewadi Sports Complex turfhere tomorrow.

However, a factor that would be playing on Viva''s mind istheir inability to force a win in away matches.

Of their six away matches, Viva suffered four defeatswhile two ended in draws.

Pune FC are currently in ninth position and have played agame less than Viva, lying 12th with 11 points.

The home side will be playing after a 21-day break and,according to Pereira, the break helped the injured players torecover.

"The period was just right for injured players to recoverand the rest to get their focus back after starting the seasonearly," Pereira said.

Pune FC are likely to be bolstered by the return ofstriker Mandjou Keita, who pulled a hamstring during theside''s last home game, against Indian Arrows, here.

Apart from Keita, medio K Ajayan, who failed to make thecut against Mohun Bagan in Kolkata due to niggles, has alsorecovered.

"One cannot underestimate any team. We need to get intothe match with the right attitude and that is, play to win,"Pereira said.

Having beaten Viva twice last season, Pune rode on SunilKumar''s last-gasp injury-time equaliser when Viva playedhosts.

"Viva is a young sideg, good on the wings, and has a veryorganised defence. And with midfielder NP Pradeep joiningthem, Viva cannot be taken lightly," Pereira cautioned.

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