The Purple Brigade of Kolkata tussle with the Red Machines of Goa with either side looking to inflict severe, possibly season defining damage on the opponents...
United Sports Club and defending I-League Champions Churchill Brothers will battle it out at the Kalyani stadium, West Bengal, in round eight of the league’s fixtures. This is seen as a make or break fixture for the warring on-field factions as a victory could do wonders for their morale whicle a loss will compound the agony for either coach.
United SC face their revered opponents from Goa, in fifth position as depicted by the league table. The Purple Brigade, under Eelco Schatorrie have had a chequered start to the season as so far with them having won two while drawing three and losing two in their bounty of eight games.
They go into this game hoping to overtake Sporting Goa for the time being, in fourth position. As the Dutch coach has explicitly stated earlier, their side isn’t up to full fitness yet but are trying to fit into the groove. The loss last week against an impressive Salgaocar might not have dented their morale all too much but they will be keen to set things in motion, as the cash strapped side get ready to face the defending champions.
Ranti Martens form is worrying for the Kolkata based team with him having only scored two goals so far this campaign as Eric Brown proudly carries the mantle as his team’s top scorer.
Speaking his mind on certain issues, the Dutchman said, "Ranti should give returns according to the payment he receives from the club. Not that he was bad but he must do better on the chances he is getting. We rely mostly on our foreigners."
Whilst Schatorrie has lamented his side’s lack of creative depth, he should have Lalkamal Bhowmick back from injury while Hassan Al Kaddour, their latest foreign recruit, is expected to star. "We don't have the creative players like Shylo Malswamtulunga, James Singh and Carlos Hernandez this year. Last year, when we didn't have Lal, James could fill in. This is a big problem this season," said the coach highlighting teh problems he has faced so far.
“I have a lot of respect for him (Bhowmick). It is going to be a very difficult match so we have to be at our very best,” Schattorie said.
He should have an otherwise fit squad, similar to the one against Salgaocar FC to choose from.
Churchill on the other hand, to put bluntly, are in harrowing form. Over the course of a few months their stock seems to have dipped from that of champions to those of top relegation candidates.
The defending champs are winless after playing SEVEN games so far this season in the league, their latest result, a draw coming against Shillong Lajong, a last ditch effort saving the day for Mariano Dias’ men.
The form of Hugo Machado sticks out like a sore thumb against those of his teammates. Time and again they’ve relied on this fabulous bit of transfer business as he’s risen to the challenge spectacularly. If only they’d have scored a few by now.
"It hasn’t been an ideal start so far but there is a long way to go and a lot could change between now and the end of the season. Let’s just focus on giving a good performance in this game," said Subhash Bhowmick, the Goan club's technical director.
Bineesh Balan scored in the last game and should once again start up front with joint top scorer for his club Balwant Singh. Henri Antouchet is out injures and may not start. Mariano Dias was happy with his team’s away performance and will hope his side can carry on the momentum in this game. He faces no sever injury shortages to his squad.
Diwali is often a key to some spectacular fireworks and this onfield extravaganza is no different. In a game of mammoth magnitude, sparks will fly, fires will burn. That’s what ultimately leads to the charm of these matches.
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