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Alfaro, Marcelinho sparks key to FC Pune City’s performance at ISL

Mumbai, Sep 25 (UNI) Uruguayan hitman Emiliano Alfaro’s form will have a huge bearing on FC Pune City’s chances of reaching the Hero Indian Super League play-offs this season.

The striker scored nine goals in 2017-18 season and enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Brazilian striker Marcelinho as Pune reached the play-offs for the first time before being edged out by Bengaluru FC.

This year the challenge will be to better their showing and Alfaro is up for the challenge.

“It’s good to have developed that understanding with Marcelinho. We understand each ones movements, try to exploit opponents weakness and look out for each other on the field,” said Alfaro.

“I don’t think there is any pressure (on us). We have a good team and a good coaching staff. Our target is to reach the semifinals first. We have to go step by step. We will give our best. I promise,” he said.

Pune City parted ways with Serbian coach Ranko Popovic ahead of the season and former Delhi Dynamos coach Miguel Angel Portugal has been roped in. However, Alfaro feels adjusting to the new coach’s methodologies should not be a problem.

“This is part of our job. This happens in football. One season, you are under one coach and then again another season under new coach. You have to adjust and work hard to understand the philosophy of a new coach,” said the Uruguayan striker.

Alfaro is now into his third season in India, having started with Northeast United in 2016 and moving on to Pune City last season.

The 30-year-old has seen a positive spurt in the standards of Indian players, and seemed impressed with the development of youngsters like Vishal Kaith, Ashique Kuruniyan, Sarthak Golui, Rohit Kumar and others.

“I can see so many young talents coming in. I personally like this. These youngsters have grown immensely over last two years. Today everyone knows Vishal (Kaith), Ashique (Kuruniyan), Rohit (Kumar) and others. They are much more confident today and are hungry. This is the big difference I see.,” he disclosed.

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