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    Pune FC face in-form Pailan Arrows

    Kolkata: Smarting from two consecutive losses, Pune FC will be up against in-form Pailan Arrows in a round five I-League fixture on Friday. Central midfielder Caitano Costa, who was red carded in their match against Churchill Brothers, will not be available as Derick Pereira's boys will look to return to winning ways.

    Pune FC's bright start to the campaign was halted here against East Bengal before they suffered their second loss against Churchill Brothers at home in the previous round. The AIFF developmental outfit, on the other hand, have been on an unbeaten run with two wins and two draws, including their last one against Salgaocar in an away match.

    The Arrows occupy a creditable third place in the table, two points behind leaders Dempo, and it remains to be seen whether the Arthur Papas-coached side retains their magic that has surprised many this season. For, it's a team devoid of any foreign recruit and the U-21 Indian boys with the likes of Holicharan Narzary and Alwyn George showing tremendous coordination to lead the attack.

    "I am very happy with my performance. But I am not going overboard. I know this is just the beginning and I have to maintain this standard. To be consistent enough to be picked everytime in any format and for any level," said Narzary, who hails from Assam and was part of Colm Toal's squad in the AFC U-19 Qualifiers in Tehran in November last year. In the mid-field, the combination of Pronoy Halder and Milan Singh has been doing well for the Arrows, while the backline is left to Souvik Ghosh and Deepak Devrani.

    Considered as dark horses of this season's I-League, Pune FC find themselves in a tricky situation with two losses, especially the last one at home when they had to play with 10 players after Costa was sent off. The team now has to lift themselves up and it remains to be seen how the likes of James Moga, Arata Izumi and Douhou Pierre motivate themselves to bring their team back to winning ways.