I-League 2010/11: Preview And Predictions – Round 11

Round-10 Prediction Statistics:

Correct Predictions : 4/7
Exact Score-line : 2/7

Season’s Prediction Statistics:

Correct Predictions : 40/70
Exact Score-line : 19/70

-x-

EAST BENGAL
v
HAL SC

Kolkata 22nd Jan 2011 – 1:45 PM IST


Trevor Morgan’s Red-&-Gold Brigade welcome the Bengaluru boys to YBK for their eleventh round match up in I-league. Former Champions maintained their 5 point lead over the second placed Salgaocar. ‘Toly-Roly’ combined well to clinch all three points for the Kolkata side at Kannur on Tuesday. Tolgay scored his eighth of the season heading in a pin-point cross from the Delhite, and could have added more to his kitty but somehow couldn’t find the back of the net. Mehtab would return to the team after he missed the last round match due to suspension. Trevor Morgan’s side would hope that this ignites the start of another winning streak after couple of draws in previous rounds, as they welcome struggling HAL.

The Bangalore boys moved up to ninth in the table as they knocked out Pune FC at Balewadi Stadium on Wednesday. The sturdy performance saw a Abdullah Hamza header sink the Pune FC’s hopes at home. Thyagraj’s side finally broke the chain of draws and defeats after a terrific start to the season. HAL relied on long balls, counter attacks and a tight midfield to squeeze out a good result in pune. Thyagraj would be expecting his team to echo the same performance as they travel to Kolkata to face off against the table toppers. Goalkeeper Pramod would have to be at his very best against the dangerous Tolgay-Robin combo. The understanding between Murali-Hamza-Xavier trio would be crucial for HAL in this match.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For: 

Tolgay Ozbey (East Bengal), Xavier Vijaykumar (HAL) 

TheHardTackle’s Prediction: 

East Bengal 3 – 0 HAL

***

MUMBAI FC
v
ONGC FC

Kohlapur, 22nd Jan 2011 – 3:30 PM IST


Mumbai FC climbed to fourth in the table as they won the crucial battle at YBK against Durand cup champions Chirag United. It was a surprise result as Chirag dominated most of the match and Mumbai were lucky that some of the balls were hit straight at their goalie, Ishaan. Khalid Jamil’s side welcome relegation battlers ONGC at the Kohlapur ground, making this match a Maharashtra derby. Nigerian Ebi Sukore is in red hot form as he hit the back of the net third time in as many matches. Henry Ezeh has looked good with Sukore up front and both will look to add some goals to their kitty in this fixture against a weak ONGC defense.

ONGC FC has had no less than a torrid time in the league so far slumping to their fifth loss of the season. They find themselves slotted at thirteenth in the league having seven points form ten matches, just two points from hitting the rock bottom. The institutional side from Mumbai put in formidable performance against Viva Kerala in round nine, just before they were defeated by Mohun Bagan in Kolhapur. Subrata Bhattacharya’s (Jr) would be expecting a repeat of that kind of performance from his players. I-League-Div-2 champions have a tough prospect of taking some points of extremely impressive Mumbai FC side, as they make a short trip to Kohlapur. ND Opara got a consolation goal for the debutant side in the last match, and will be a man to watch out.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For: 

Henry Ezeh (Mumbai FC), Rajat Ghosh Dastider (ONGC FC) 

TheHardTackle’s Prediction: 

Mumbai FC 2 – 0 ONGC FC

***

VIVAK ERALA
v
CHIRAG UNITED

Kannur, 22nd Jan, 2011 – 4:00 PM IST


Kunhikrishnan’s s men moved out of the relegation zone despite losing at home to East Bengal in round ten, but only on goal difference. Tolgay’s header looped over the diving Shahinlal at Kannur to sink the Kerala side for the fifth time this season. In round eleven, Neelapadda welcome the dangerous Durand cup champions as they prepare to break the losing streak of three matches. Sabeeth and Felix synched up well against East Bengal and the team orchestrated some good chances in the previous round, but once again it was bad finishing which led to yet another barren scoreboard. Kunhikrishnan would like his front men to finish and convert more against the Kolkata side and take advantage of home ground conditions as they look to secure their second win of the season.

Chirag United slipped to seventh in the table after surprisingly losing to an embattled Mumbai FC side at home.  Chirag completely dominated the match but a defensive lapse cost them all three points. Sanjay Sen missed quality finishing of the foreign striking duo of Josimar and Junior as Md. Rafique missed some glorious chances to restore the parity. As they travel south, Sanjay Sen would be hoping that his team improves in striking department as they enjoyed a healthy but not much fertile ball possession in last round. A win would take the Kolkata side right back into the top three mix, and we expect a solid display from the Durand cup champions in this fixture as both sides look to come back from losses in previous round.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For: 

Felix (Viva Kerala), Branco Cardozo (Chirag United) 

TheHardTackle’s Prediction: 

Viva Kerala 0 – 1 Chirag United

***

PUNEFC
v
CHURCHILL BROTHERS

Pune, 22nd Jan 2011 – 7:00 PM IST


Pune FC registered their fourth loss of the season, third in a row, against a vibrant and rejuvenated HAL side at Balewadi. Another disappointing loss for Derrick Pereira’s side as the Red Lizards slip to eleventh in the table, hovering just above the relegation zone. Pune side needs some tickling with formation and the players deployed. The mid field looks tired within the first half. The things are looking very bleak for the much talked about and well supported Pune side. Edmar needs to step up and be counted at this tough time for the club. Arata Izumi seems to be the only player who could change things for the side and would be our player to watch out for the home side as they welcome Goan giants and former champions Churchill Brothers in round eleven. Derrick Pereira’s boys need to be on top of their game and need to double mark Vincent, who has hit a nice patch of form.

Churchill Brothers scored twice within three minutes in second half as they went past a struggling Air India side at PJN Stadium, Fatorda. Robert and Charan Rai scored their maiden I-league goals as Vincent Subramaniam’s team cruised to their second victory in as many days. They make a short trip to Pune for their round eleven match against a struggling Pune FC side. New Zealander Kanye Vincent has been playing well, linking up effectively with Durga Boro and Bineesh Balan, getting regular feeds form Zakeer from mid field. He has filled the void in absence of their star striker Odafa, and will be our man to watch out for.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For: 

Edmar (Pune FC), Kanye Vincent (Churchill Brothers) 

TheHardTackle’s Prediction: 

Pune FC 1 – 3 Churchill Brothers

***

MOHUN BAGAN
v
AIFF XI

Kolkata, 23rd Jan 2011 – 1:45 PM IST


Subhas Bhowmick’s side moved to sixth in the table, as the Greens and Maroons overcame the ONGC challenge. Ishfaq scored his second consecutive goal overlapping from the left, and Chidi Edeh scored a brace for the Mariners as they hoarded all three points in Kolhapur. The Nigerian came back strongly just few hours after he learnt that he had lost his mother back home, netting four times in two matches. The deadly combo of Barreto and Chidi upfront can prove to be vital as three times champions look to crawl back into the title contendership. The Kolkata team entertains the young under 21’s at YBK, and Subhas Bhowmick will hope that his team capitalizes on back to back wins and clinches all three points from this easy fixture.

Desmond Bulpin’s side have garnered 10 points form as many matches and maintained their tenth spot in the table after playing out a stalemate at Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Gurgaon against inaugural champions JCT. Desmond Buplin would want Shilton D’silva and Malsawmfela to continue with their good work in the mid field, supporting Jeje upfront.  Keeper Jagrup Singh needs to be at the top his game as they face a real test of their nerves in front of a large crowd at YBK. Snatching any points from this fixture would be a huge morale booster for the young brigade as they look to avoid relegation and notch their third victory of the season.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For: 

Ishfaq Ahmed (Mohun Bagan), Shilton D’Silva (AIFF XI)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction: 

Mohun Bagan 2-0 AIFF XI

***

AIRINDIA
v
DEMPO

Kohlapur, 23rd Jan 2011 – 3:30 PM IST


The Airmen registered their second consecutive defeat as they are all set to welcome the champions in round eleven. Despite of a good defending display in first half, Yusuf Ansari’s side let in two second half goals, without responding. Still looking for their first win, it will be tipped as a miracle if the Airmen escape relegation from here on. The Pilots indeed have a tough ask of getting some points off the champions, who would be looking to fight back as they too were defeated in round ten. All the players donning the Air India jersey need to play out of their skins and look to kick start their season.

Holders Dempo went down to the second placed Salgaocar side in an all Goa affair round ten match, despite scoring within first five minutes. Nigerian Ogba Kalu scored for the champions from a well delivered corner by Peter Rodriguez. The mid field of Beto-Nicolau-Marcus didn’t click as it was expected to and the shaky defense let in three goals, as the defending champions couldn’t capitalize on Chirag United’s loss and remained on fifth in the table. Armando Colaco side couldn’t have asked for a better fixture after their remorseful loss to Salgaocar as they travel to Maharashtra to face off against Air India. The coach will try to get things right, as they are expected to garner all three points from this fixture. Strikers Ranty-Cliffton-Beto would be hoping that they hit the back of the net and gain confidence from this fixture as they have another two away games coming their way after this match against relatively easier opponent.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For: 

Arup Debnath (Air India), Beto (Dempo)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction: 

Air India 0-4 Dempo

***

SALGAOCAR
v
JCT FC

Margaon, 23rd Jan, 2011 – 3:45 PM IST


Karim Bencharifa’s boys continued their impressive display in I-League 2010/11 with a brilliant win over Dempo. Despite going down within the first few minutes, Salgaocar clawed their way back to score three goals. Ryuji Sueoka has been arguably the best player in I-League so far. He has not only scored goals but has provided assists for his team-mates. Tomba Singh’s consistency at the heart of midfield has been another major driving force behind the first Goan team to win NFL. Fleet footed wingers Anthony Barbosa and Francis Fernandes have provided width on both flanks. This season they are looking like serious title contenders for a change. A few days ago Salgaocar snapped up three national team players – Govin Singh, Baldeep Singh and James Singh – making their title ambitions clear.

JCT seems to have found familiar rhythm after a below-par start to their campaign. Evergreen Sukhwinder Singh has once again managed to steer the Punjab club away from relegation fears. As it stands now, the Phagwara team is heading for an all too familiar mid-table finish. Striker Nuruddin has added much needed firepower to the team. Winger Amandeep Singh was a live-wire in their last match and rightly earned the Man of the Match award. JCT hasn’t lost a single match since losing against Mohun Bagan in December 2010. Since then they have won four out of six matches. Their defensive record in this period has been nothing short of spectacular. JCT hasn’t conceded a goal in last 5 matches, in 453 minutes of football. Omolaja has been the most in-form defender in I-League in last one month and deserves special mention for JCT’s exploits.

JCT defence will be facing an acid test when they take on Salgaocar. The Goan team averages 2.2 goals per match being true to Karim’s philosophy of offensive football.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For: 

Anthony Barbosa (Salgaocar), Omolaja Kareem (JCT)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction: 

Salgaocar 0-0 JCT

***