United Sikkim FC - Air India Preview: Will the long wait for the hosts' second victory end?
Noushad Moosa's outfit are in Gangtok, Sikkim, to face the Snow Lions in a Round 22 I-League encounter on Wednesday...
By Anselm Noronha
UNITED SIKKIM FC
Farid, Sardar, Anwar, Lugun;
Thupden, Zenith, Matkin, Machado;
Baldip, Prem Kumar, Thube, Gagandeep;
Pradeep, Micky, Chakraborty, Thorat;
It's been almost five months since United Sikkim FC have registered a win in the league after notching their first three points against Salgaocar FC in their maiden I-League fixture.
It's been a downward trend from there on for the Bhaichung Bhutia co-owned club, besides picking their other nine points in the form of a few draws in the competition. Along the road, USFC have also suffered a couple of huge defeats, both under former coach Phillipe De Ridder and current gaffer Nathan Hall.
Since Hall has taken charge, the Australian has made a few changes in personnel and under the current set-up, Spanish striker Pablo Rodriguez Aracil alongside Nigerian Nurudeen Salau have proved quite a handful for the rival defenders.
|Can Nathan Hall's side convert performance to results?
Currently 12th on the table, with 19 points from 20 matches, seven points above their rivals from Sikkim, Air India are not playing to survive the league as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) have already confirmed that the Airmen will be eliminated from the next season for not fulfilling the licencing criteria.
Performance is all that matters to Moosa's men as the Mumbai-based team's players will be looking to earn themselves decent contracts for the coming term from top division clubs.
Although the cause of the two sides has a contrasting nature, it calls for a tough match as the home side will be looking for their second win at home.
United Sikkim FC: Nathan Hall decided to try Rakshit Kumar in between sticks and may continue with the custodian given his impressive performance against Prayag United while a slightly stronger defensive set-up could be expected. Defender Sandesh Jhingan is yet to recover.
Air India: Defender Rahul Bheke is a doubtful starter for the Pilots. Midfielder Amos Omeje did not travel with the team as the Nigerian wasn't able to secure a foreigner's pass for entering into Sikkim.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Both Phillipe De Ridder and Nathan Hall have four points each under their belts, in their respective matches while being at the helm of United Sikkim FC so far.
- Air India head coach Noushad Moosa (pictured) started his playing career with East Bengal before moving to Mahindra (now disbanded) besides being capped for the Indian national team.
- In the two team's only other encounter, Air India and United Sikkim had played out a 3-3 draw between themselves.
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Top 3 Predictions
United Sikkim F.C. 0-2 Air India F.C.
- 50 %
United Sikkim F.C. 2-2 Air India F.C.
- 16.67 %
United Sikkim F.C. 0-3 Air India F.C.
- 16.67 %
|I-League (I-L)||27-Mar-2013||United Sikkim F.C. 5 - Air India F.C. 0|
|I-League (I-L)||27-Nov-2012||Air India F.C. 3 - United Sikkim F.C. 3|
|United Sikkim F.C.|
|20-Jan-2014||Bhawanipore F.C. 1 - United Sikkim F.C. 0||INDF|
|17-Jan-2014||United Sikkim F.C. 0 - Dempo SC 3||INDF|
|14-Jan-2014||Mohd Sp 2 - United Sikkim F.C. 1||INDF|
|12-May-2013||United Sikkim F.C. 0 - Mohun Bagan A.C. 3||I-L|
|08-May-2013||East Bengal F.C. 6 - United Sikkim F.C. 0||I-L|
|16||John Landa Matkin||Midfielder|
|29||V. Prem Kumar||Defender|
|10||Elijah Obagbemiro Junior||Striker|
|13||Ong Teshering Lepcha||Midfielder|
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed