Pune: FC Goa have been dealt a severe body blow ahead of their Indian Super League (ISL) clash with FC Pune City as their marquee player, Robert Pires, has been handed a two-match suspension.
Goa's marquee man Robert Pires
The Zico-coached Goan outfit take on hosts Pune in their fourth encounter of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Balewadi Sports Complex today.
In all, two players and two coaches have been suspended after a scuffle broke out during half-time in the FC Goa vs Atletico de Kolkata match on Thursday in Goa.
Besides Pires, All India Football Federation's (AIFF) disciplinary committee also handed bans to Atletico de Kolkata player Fikru Teferra, Atletico coach Antonio Lopez Habas and Atletico's goalkeeping coach Predipkumar Bhaktawer.
Both Pires and Fikru have been suspended for two matches and have been fined Rs 5,00,000 for breach of All India Football Federation (AIFF) Disciplinary Code (Article 58) of Offensive Behaviour and Fair Play.
"Yes, it is a setback, but football is a team game and one player should not make much of a difference," Goa coach Zico told reporters on Saturday.
Zico said that his team has been playing well, but finding the net has been their drawback. "We have played much better than the opponents in the last three games, but we are yet to find the finishing prowess," said the Brazilian.
The coach was also critical about the officials in the tournament. "There have been many flaws but who am I to judge them," Zico said.
Meanwhile, hosts FC Pune City are looking for their first win in the inaugural edition of the ISL.
"It's our first home game, and we look forward to giving it our best shot tomorrow," said Franco Colomba, the FC Pune City coach.
Regarding Robert Pires' absence, the Italian said, "It is pity that a player of his calibre is not playing. ISL will miss him," said the coach.