The Goan side will welcome back Balwant Singh, Lalit Thapa and Saran Singh back into the squad for the tie against Singapore’s Home United…
Churchill Brothers coach Mariano Dias believes that the team’s poor form after the Federation Cup success is down to the playing style being tampered. It must be noted that technical director Subhash Bhowmick is part of the Churchill technical staff after being away for a brief period during the Federation Cup owing to personal reasons.
Since going unbeaten in five matches to lift the Federation Cup in January, they have picked two points from a possible nine in the I-League. On being asked as to why their fortunes haven’t changed following the triumph in the Cup competition, Dias said, “This is a question mark for me because I don’t know that after doing so well in the Federation Cup, the playing system in the team has changed. That’s the only thing I can say.”
Rangdajied United have won three consecutive games in the I-League and have moved from being at the bottom of the table to eighth in the standings. Dias admitted that his side are feeling the heat after the north eastern outfit have found their best form in the business end of the season.
“That (Rangdajied’s form) is worrying us very much. We are right at the bottom with 15 points and the other teams are doing well. They have won three in a row and that gives us butterflies in the stomach. We have to win every match in the I-League. It is giving us a lot of headaches.
“If we don’t win and score, we will face a lot of problems. Our next match is on March 23rd against Pune FC. If we win that match then things will definitely change,” he mentioned.
The good news for Churchill is that Balwant Singh, Saran Singh and Lalit Thapa are included in the eighteen member squad. He mentioned that Cristian Lagos will start for the Red Machines as he scored a couple of goals in the last game against New Radiant.
“We have a full squad. Lalit Thapa is back and Saran is also back. Balwant is not 100% fit. He may come in the later stage maybe. No one’s place is permanent in the team, because there are other players who can come directly into the team.
“The previous days’ performance will also be counted and how you get a place in the next match. Lagos will be definitely starting because he has done quite well in the last match getting us two goals.”
Speaking about their opponents, Home United who have a point from their two AFC Cup matches, Dias said, “They are a very good side and have good players like Ismail Yunos who played for the country. They have the South Korean international Lee Kwan Woo and Chinese-born Singaporean International in Qiu Li. They also have the best young player from last year’s S-League in Sinira Camara. These players can make all the difference. Against Persipura Jayapura, they played really well and drew 1-1.”
Dias stated that the onus was on his team to win three points from the fixture if they harbor any hopes of progressing into the next stage.
“We would like to take it match-by-match. Last match was good and we have a victory and of course this match is equally important if we want to go further in the AFC Cup. A win will only boost our confidence.”
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