I-League Preview: JCT- Air India

What: I-League, Matchday 18 Who: JCT (10th, 17 points) vs. Air India (9th, 19 points) Where: Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhiana When: March 7 ‘09
In yet another relegation battle which Saturday throws up, JCT host Air India at the Guru Nanak Stadium as the two sides look to snatch whatever points come their way.

High Time…

It’s not that JCT are on a high but it’s high time that they start getting their results right. Apart from Mahindra United, East Bengal and Dempo SC, JCT also have been guilty of being poor this season.

They haven’t looked solid and haven’t even come close to replicating their form of the last two seasons which saw them finish in the top three.

Neither have the goals come nor has the defence been rock solid.  They have conceded 18 goals so far in the season and their goal difference is negative for scoring only 13. The last time JCT had a negative goal difference was way back in the 2001-02 season where they finished exactly in the same position they find themselves currently in.

The youngsters recruited by them showed a lot of promise but need some experience in the midfield to be creative. The strikers have been out of touch as none has lived up to the promise.

Last One…

This is the last away match for Air India this season and they would want to win their first game away from home in the league.

After an impressive run in the first phase of the league, they have slumped considerably from the top five to being in the bottom four. They have managed just three points in the five matches played so far in the New Year.

Several players in their squad aren’t in the best shape and form though Coach Bimal Ghosh is an expert to get the maximum even out of a makeshift side.

Surojit Roy who was a key figure for the Airmen has been poor while Soccor Velho too hasn’t been at his best ever since the facial injury against Mohammedan Sporting.

Michael Tayo has done well in patches while the usually reliable Emmanuel Ovieghara has also been susceptible to mistakes. They have four home games following today’s game which gives them some hope to garner enough points at Cooperage where they are a difficult side to beat even in bad form. A win today shall boost their chances of a top five finish.

Form Guide

JCT

February 26 ’09 JCT 1-2 Churchill Brothers (I-League)

February 21 ’09 JCT 0-1 Chirag United (I-League)

February 14 ’09 Mahindra United 0-0 JCT (I-League)

Air India

February 28 ’09 Mumbai FC 1-1 Air India (I-League)

February 20 ’09 Air India 0-0 Dempo SC (I-League)

February 14 ’09 Chirag United 1-0 Air India (I-League)

Team News…

JCT are without Gurwinder Singh and Paul MacJames due to double bookings. Eduardo Da Silva returns to the 18 and is expected to start. Baldeep Singh Senior, Jaspal Singh and Daljit Singh continue to be out as their injuries haven’t healed while Amandeep Singh is back after his exams.

Air India are without Samson Singh, Kailash Patil, Vijith Shetty, Narendra Meetei and Santosh Koli as they are in the treatment room.

Key Areas…

JCT shall go all out and might allow Air India to hit them on counter which they are keen exponents of. Goals would be hard to come by and could be a game where a single strike could make the difference.

Key Players…

Jagpreet Singh: The midfielder scored a ‘beautiful’ goal according to Churchill Brothers coach Zoran Djordjevic in the last match and is certainly the one to look out for.

Subhash Singh: The youngster has impressed with his pace though he needs to some time to mature into a good player. He would their main attacking threat.

Rahul Bali.