The cash-strapped Kolkata side will try to continue their winning run while the visitors will appear for their second away match on a trot after impressing in a 1-1 draw last weekUnited Sports Club will face Sporting Clube de Goa in their second I-League match in the Kalyani stadium on Sunday.
The match was supposed to kick off at 3p.m, but due to the cloudy weather, it has been decided at the managers' meeting that the game will now start at 2.30p.m.
After struggling to find a sponsor for the team over the summer, the Kolkata side secured an impressive 2-0 win over the newbies Rangdajied United last Sunday. Though the lack of pre-season practice was evident, as a number of players looked unfit to carry on for the entire length of the match, the team held its nerves and scraped through their first challenge, courtesy of goals from the foreign striker duo Eric Brown and Ranti Martins.
Eelco Schattorie, the Dutch gaffer of the team, will continue to carry on with his 4-4-2 diamond formation as Lalkamal Bhowmick and K.Asif will bear the responsibilties of pulling the strings from the midfield. In the last match, the Dutchman made a mockery of AIFF's rule of having a U-23 player in the starting line-up by substituting Biswajit Biswas only 6 minutes after the kick-off.
Hopefully nothing of that sort will not be seen from now onwards though, as Mohammed Rafique is now match-fit and will be a part of the starting XI. "No, Rafique is a 100% starter. He's fit now, so he will always play. Last week was (about) survival in that situation," Eelco told Goal after the practice on the eve of the match.
Meanwhile Tapan Maity, who started in the midfield in the last match for United is sidelined due to an ankle injury. "I am yet to decide on his replacement," Eelco said. However, Shouvik Chakraborty seems to be the most likely candidate to fill the void.
Sporting Goa on the other hand, shared the spoils with Mumbai FC in their opening game of the season and are eagerly in search of their first win, to get their campaign well and truly going. Against Mumbai it was Nigerian midfielder Ogba Kalu who netted a second half equalizer from the spot.
Sporting Goa’s Spanish Coach Oscar Bruzon believes Kalu is a little bit short of match fitness, having joined the pre-season training late and has left him out of the squad for this tie.
“Kalu has been the club’s top goal scorer for the last two seasons and his consistency has made him one of the greatest players to have played in the I-League. I am sure he will return sharper than ever and show the fans what he is really capable off,” reasoned Oscar in the pre-match press release.
Dawson Fernandes, Victorino Fernandes and Liberian Boima Jerry Karpeh are expected to spearhead the attack for Sporting Goa.
Interestingly when the two clubs met last season in the I-League, it was the Flaming Oranje who won 3-1 in Kolkata, while in the return game United Sports Club won 2-1 in Goa.