Focus on medical facilities as HASC face Pune test

Focus on medical facilities as HASC face Pune test

BFS to host first tie after on-field death of Venkatesh

More than the game of football, the medical facilities at the venue will be under intense scrutiny as action returns to the Bangalore Football Stadium for the first time since the death of a young footballer on the pitch twenty days ago.

Emotions could run high when Hindustan Aeronautics Sports Club face a confident Pune Football Club in the 24th round of the I-League on Tuesday, with the death of Bangalore Mars player D Venkatesh on March 21 still fresh in memory.

The incident threw light on the poor medical facilities at the venue and as action resumes, the authorities have promised sophisticated medical assistance to the players with the Karnataka State Football Association (KSFA) tying up with two top hospitals in the city.

On the pitch, with the I-League reaching the final stages and Pune FC theoretically having a slight chance of winning the crown, Tuesday’s encounter could offer an exciting battle. “We will go all out for a victory. We still have a chance of winning the title, but that depends upon other teams,” said Pune FC coach Derrick Pereira, whose team lie fifth with 40 points from 22 matches.

Placed ahead of Pune FC are Dempo Sports Club (47), East Bengal (41) and Churchill Brothers (41) — all of whom having played 22 matches — and Mohun Bagan (40), who have played one match more.

Pune will be without the services of ace striker Jeje Lalpekhlua who is out due to injury but the visitors’ squad feature half a dozen players from Karnataka who are familiar with the venue though not with the artificial pitch. Former HASC defender Srikanth Ramu, international Shanmugam Venkatesh and midfielder Lester Fernandes are expected to play a big role in the team’s charge for a victory on Tuesday.

HASC, on the other hand, are staring at relegation. The Aircraftmen are at the bottom of the 14-team league with eight points -- the same as Pailan Arrows who have played only 20 matches — but the AIFF team will not be relegated come what may. Other teams in the danger zone are Chirag United Kerala (17) and Mumbai FC (20), against whom HASC will clash here on Saturday.

HASC had lost 1-3 in the away tie to Pune FC and they will need to raise their play by notches if they are to challenge Pereira’s men.

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