The Australian coach believes that the competition this term has gone several notches higher…
BY ANSELM NORONHA Follow @apnoronha on twitter
Dempo SC take on Sporting Clube de Goa in the second semi-final of the Federation Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi on Thursday.
The Golden Eagles have been unbeaten in the three games and qualified for the semis by virtue of a better goal difference (+1) than Mohammedan Sporting.
“The team spirit within the group is at a very good level and there is healthy competition within the squad for spot,” said coach Arthur Papas.
He also mentioned that new signings Tolay Ozbey and Haroon Amiri have gelled well with the rest of their team-mates.
“They have both played their part in us reaching the semi-finals and I’m pleased to see how quickly they have adapted to our playing style.”
Interestingly of the four semi-finalists, only Sporting Clube de Goa have been consistent in the I-League while the likes of Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers and Dempo SC are from the bottom half of the table.
Papas explained, “I-League has shown this year that on any given day the difference between the teams higher up the ladder compared to lower does not guarantee a given result.
“In general all the teams in lower half of the I-League have significantly altered their squads and also I consider consistency to be the bigger issue in the league whereas the Federation Cup is about the team who can cope the best over two weeks with all the variables.”
Sporting have been one of the most improved sides the end of 2012 under the guidance of Oscar Bruzon. Papas spoke on the style of play The Flaming Oranje prefers playing in.
“Sporting are overall enjoying a very positive season. They rely upon a combination of rhythm, intensity & speed when in possession by moving into free spaces combined with intelligent fast decisions. Defensively they are aggressive and try to remain compact and exploit the counterattack situations.”
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