Mariano Dias: New Radiant are a strong side

The Goan coach hopes that his side’s fortunes change for good when they come up against the Maldives' outfit...

Churchill Brothers have a few injury concerns ahead of their AFC Cup group E clash against Maldives’ New Radiant on Tuesday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa.

Balwant Singh, Saran Singh and Lalit Thapa have been ruled out of the important clash having sustained injuries lately.

Coach Mariano Dias revealed that Cristian Lagos will be available for the tie and will replace Balwant in attack.

“There are other players who can come into his place. Lagos will be replacing Balwant. Of course he has been scoring with Anthony [Wolfe]. A fit player is always better than an injured star. Definitely Lagos will do well I hope,” he said.

Anthony Wolfe backed Lagos to do well against the Maldivian side and said, “I think the chemistry between us is okay. We are players and we do what the coaches want. I think everything will be fine. He is a great player and he is getting his chance to prove himself. Balwant is also missing, so everything is up to him to come and do well. It should give the coaching staff a headache to pick the starting team.”

Speaking on their opponents, Dias said, “New Radiant have played one match and they have won, they are a very strong side. I’ve seen them playing against Singapore’s Home United. They play as a team and it is important for us to win the home match because we have already lost against Persipura Jayapura.”

Churchill lost their opening game 2-0 to Indonesia’s Persipura Jayapura in an away fixture a fortnight ago. Dias explained why they couldn’t give their best against the reigning Indonesian Super League (ISL) champions.

“The experience was good, but only the journey to Jayapura was too long. We played in Kolkata and after that we travelled for two consecutive nights. We had only one day rest, but overall the performance was good. We were playing in front of a big crowd there. It was very nice and the crowd was also cheering the team. Everything was good,” he said.

Dias hoped that his side can make it into the knockout stages of the continental competition by winning their next five games.

“We have six games and we have lost one. If we win the remaining five we can qualify. We will try to do our best.”

Churchill are coming into the game on the back of a 3-0 defeat to Bengaluru FC and are back to being at the bottom of the I-League table.

“We have suffered a big defeat against Bengaluru. I think we will come back and do well in Tuesday’s match as well as in the league.”


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