Bhaichung Bhutia's team will look to take advantage of Air India's precarious form to garner some much-needed points...
Baldip, Rahul, Prem Kumar, Gagandeep
UNITED SIKKIM FC
Air India's woes were compounded further when they went down 1-0 to Dempo SC in Round 7 of the I-League. The Mumbai side fought bravely against the reigning champions but lost out to Joaquim Abranches' late strike.
Interim coach Anthony Fernandes will no doubt be looking at the positives that came out of that game. Midfielder Micky Fernandes, Pradeep Mohanraj and Junior Obagbemiro came close to scoring and coach Fernandes will hope that against United Sikkim, another club which is struggling to get the points, his team will be able to take something from this game.
The defence looked out of sorts as Dempo carved the backline open at will, though they didn't capitalise on them, and this will be an issue for Fernandes to address before they take on the north-eastern side.
Bhaichung Bhutia will no doubt be happy having earned his first point as player-manager of United Sikkim after drawing 2-2 with Pune FC. The Sikkimese side showed remarkable resolve after going down to James Moga's quickfire opener.
The north-eastern side scored two goals in as many minutes to rattle the Pune club's cage. Bhutia's side will hope that they can replicate the form of the last game when they take on basement club Air India who too put in a fighting performance against Dempo SC.
Bhutia will have to drill into his players the importance of concentrating from the first minute, as they let James Moga score just 14 seconds into the game. It will be left to be seen whether Bhaichung's men will take any points away from this game as well.
Air India: Anthony Fernandes will in all likeliness field the same XI that lost to Dempo as they took the fight to the champions. The coach will look for a similar performance against United Sikkim.
ONGC FC: Bhaichung Bhutia's team will mostly be unchanged with no injury or suspension worries for the Sikkimese side.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- This will be the first meeting between the two sides in the I-League.
- United Sikkim are have conceded the most number of goals in the I-League (19) along with ONGC FC.
- Air India's Junior Obagbemiro played two seasons for Finnish 4th Division club Kaajanin Haka in 2008 and 2009 and helped them win promotion to the 3rd division.
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