The Flaming Oranje take on the Red Machines in the Goan derby today with Churchill in a bid to escape relegation and Sporting out for revenge for the Federation Cup loss.
Sporting Club de Goa take will take on fellow Goan side Churchill Brothers at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa on Sunday. While Churchill may be I-League champions, they are relegation contenders this time as they sit in 12th, the penultimate position in the table, on 18 points from 21 games.
Churchill played Home United in the AFC Cup at Singapore in the midweek and fell to a 2-1 defeat. The entire squad will face a race against time to recover completely for the game. The Red Machines however cannot take this game lightly with every game becoming crucial for survival and their Technical Director Subhash Bhowmick has echoed those thoughts saying.
"The spirit in the team is high, however the lads have not recovered properly after their trip to Singapore. The team spent an entire day travelling and that has taken a toll on several players," said Bhowmick.
Their last I-League encounter saw Churchill being drubbed 4-1 against Dempo SC riding high on Tolgey Ozbey’s four goals, and Bhowmick will have to pick his side up quickly.
They will have Satish Singh back in the squad after serving a one match suspension. Saran Singh, Sanjay Balmuchu, Raju Yumnam and Bineesh Balan will have to pass a late fitness test to make it to the squad.
Oscar Bruzon’s Sporting Club de Goa are fifthon the table with 32 points, 6 points shy of leaders Bengaluru. They arrested their downward spiral with their first victory since the turn of the year in the league, when they beat Rangdajied United 1-2 courtesy of goals from Rowlin Borges and Catejan Fernandes.
The coach said his side are focused on the current game.
“We are totally focused on taking 3 points against Churchill. No previous matches or future games are in the players’ minds at the moment,” stated Bruzon.
The club handed midfielder Velito D’Cruz his first start for the club last time around and goalkeeper Melroy Fernandes, another local boy also did not disappoint in only his third outing for the side. He will be aiming to keep a clean sheet against his former employers.
Another one of Churchill’s former players who will be hoping to impress at the other end of the field is Sporting Goa’s top goal scorer Boima Jerry Karpeh.
They are missing Nallapan Mohanraj, Jovel Martins, Dawson Fernandes and Victorino Fernandes for the game through injury, but have ample ammunition in their ranks for the battle.
Churchill pulled one over Sporting when they beat them 3-1 in the Federation Cup Final enroute to the title and Bruzon’s side will be looking for revenge.
For their last I-League meeting, we have to go all the way back to November when Churchill picked up a thrilling 3-2 victory when Jaison Vales scored deep into added time to break Sporting hearts.
The match will be a difficult encounter and Churchill would do well to beware of Sporting’s talents, Bhowmick said, "Sporting are a good team. They have an intelligent coach and a favourable mix of youth and experience. The boys will give their best and try to get all 3 points from this crucial encounter."
The match will not be televised on TV but don’t let that get your spirits down.
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