The Anthony Fernandes-led home team is in desperate need of a win while the defending champions would want to keep their title ambitions alive...
Baldip, Chaudhari, Bheke, Gagandeep;
Pradeep, Shetty, Thorat, Lepcha;
Rebello, Maulingkar, Rowilson, Antao;
Anthony, Carvalho, Climax, Abranches;
For the past few seasons Air India versus Dempo matches have become a nightmare for even the best of punters who seek a favourable outcome based on team strength. Such is the unpredictability of Air India-Dempo games that you would have to wait until the final whistle to know which way the game has swung.
The love-hate affair began two seasons back when Air India pulled a surprise win in Pune with a 4-0 thrashing of Dempo side which then comprised of the likes of Beto and Ranti Martins among others. This was followed by retaliation from the Goans who thrashed the Airmen 14-0 at home thus recording the biggest win ever in the I-League history. Last season too, Air India got the better of Dempo 2-0 thanks to a double strike by the their former striker Manandeep Singh, but later got hammered 3-1 in Goa.
This season, Air India could have at least snatched a point from their away game against the defending champions if not for Joaquim Abranches' late winner in the 90th minute. With the axe of relegation hanging high over their heads, The Pilots would like to win Sunday’s game before heading into the break.
|Any guesses for a full time score?
Meanwhile, Dempo SC have their own share of problems as key players have been ruled out of Sunday's match due to injuries. Defenders Mahesh Gawli and Samir Naik will be absent from the action while Debabrata Roy will also be unavailable after being injured in the game against ONGC FC.
Prathamesh Maulingkar may get the nod in the starting eleven along with Cresson Antao while Peter Carvalho and Climax Lawrence will hold the midfield. Abranches is expected to play a role of attacking winger along with strikers Ryuji Sueoka and John Menyongar.
After a dull start to the New Year, Armando’s side are yet to find consistency in their game. After winning 7-0 against a hapless United Sikkim, they drew against Mumbai FC in their last match after being two goals down, while Air India will be looking to break their seven-match winless streak after their 4-0 defeat at the hands of Prayag United.
|Preview Courtesy: Dempo SC|
Air India: Defensive midfielder Micky Fernandes and midfielder Souvik Chakrabarty will miss out due to suspensions, having picked four yellow cards each, while defender Pratik Chaudhari is reportedly fit for the tie. Prakash Thorat, who played as a striker in the last match, will likely be employed as a midfielder.
Dempo SC: Prathamesh Maulingkar's inclusion in the starting line-up could push Cresson Antao wider in the left back position while Joaquim Abranches could be running down the left flank in place of the suspended Clifford Miranda who was sent-ff in the last match against Mumbai FC.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- In the last eight matches that the two sides have played, Air India and Dempo SC have registered only one home win and away win respectively.
- In all, Air India's home record has been very poor, so far registering only one victory besides five draws from their nine home matches.
- Dempo SC have played nine away matches this season, with four wins, three draws and two defeats.
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