Round-11 Prediction Statistics:

Correct Predictions : 4/7
Exact Score-line : 1/7

Season’s Prediction Statistics:

Correct Predictions : 44/77
Exact Score-line : 20/77



Kolkata – 29th Jan 2011 – 1:45 PM IST

It’s a lip smacking blockbuster for Kolkata’s soccer crazy fans as East Bengal play Churchill Brothers in a titanic clash at The Salt Lake stadium. The YBK will be absolutely packed to capacity as the first and third placed teams clash for the first time this season. Coach Vincent Subramanium will be scratching his head on the fitness of his star striker Odafa who has missed the last three games. He is a doubtful starter for this gigantic clash too.

However their star signings- Brazilian Amauri Nunes and Australian Jeremy Karpeh – will more than make up for his absence. In fact both these players have been training with Churchill for more than a month now and it’s no surprise that they immediately settled and made an impact in their first game against Pune FC. If Odafa is unfit, Churchill could start with Kayne Vincent and Jeremy Karpeh up front. The midfield will most probably remain the same with Steven on the right, the fast improving Zakeer and Nunes at the centre and either Bineesh or Israil on the left. The defence could see Gourmangi and Rowilson at the centre and Franco and Robert on the right and left respectively. Lalit Thapa will continue in goal after Arindam Bhattacharya failed to return to Goa after being reportedly arrested by the Kolkata police for manhandling a policeman.

Churchill’s strength has always been their attacking play but for the first time this season they don’t look like a one man army. Karpeh and Vincent were impressive the other night and they will look even meaner once Mohammad Rafi returns from injury. However one aspect of their game that will be troubling coach Vincent, will be his defence. They have conceded nine goals this season and though the leaking defence has been partly plugged by the return of Gourmangi Singh, they still look suspect against good quality passing and long balls. They will have to be wary of Tolgay who on his day can dismantle any defence. The midfield battle could also be interesting with the young Zakeer coming up against the experienced and wily Mehtab.

Churchill on the other hand will be up against a resolute East Bengal defense which has conceded just two goals this season. Okpara and Gurwinder have been outstanding at the heart of East Bengal’s defense. Naoba too has been sensational on the right with his overlapping and crossing. Good news on Injury front is the return of center back Nirmal Chhetri, who was sidelined since the start of the I-League campaign. Skipper Soumik Dey is expected to start in the left back position.

The midfield too has been exceptional with Mehtab being the players of the season so far. Sanju Pradhan on the right, Sushanth Mathew on the left and Penn Orji in the roaming role have also done a great job. The Red-&-Golds will also welcome back the versatile Rahim Nabi and Mehrajuddin Wadoo, who are back into the club training after Indian national team’s AFC Asian Cup campaign came to an end. There is a high possibility of Nabi being drafted in to the starting XI in place of Sushanth at the left wing position. While Mehraj is expected to find a place on the bench and might just be used as a second half substitute.

Tolgay and Robin Sngh will once again shoulder the responsibility of getting the goals for Trevor Morgan’s side. East Bengal have reportedly signed a Brazilian striker, Alexandro da Silva Santos, who has impressed the coach during his week-long trail. Popularly known as “Leko”, the striker has plied his trade in Hong Kong first division league for Citizen Athletic Association. He may get the nod to be used as a second half substitute for the match against Churchill. Leko’s inclusion will certainly boost the Red-&-Gold’s attacking strengths.

This promises to be one hell of a contest. Mehtab and Penn will have to be on their toes to stop Zakeer and Amauri from controlling play, while Gurwinder and Okpara will have a tough time stopping Karpeh and Vincent and possibly Odafa. However if Mehtab can stop Amauri and Zakeer from distributing balls to the strikers they will have won half the battle. The Red and Gold’s must dominate possession and not allow Churchill to get into their rhythmic free flowing game. No surprises for guessing who needs the three points more. Churchill are already seven points behind East Bengal and a loss here would probably bring down the curtains on their season. Mr. Vincent may already have started to feel the pressure.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For:

Mehtab Hussain (East Bengal), MP Zakeer (Churchill Brothers)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction:

East Bengal 2-2 Churchill Brothers



Kannur- 29th Jan 2011 – 4:00 PM IST

Will a new name herald a new era for the youngsters from Gurgaon? Desmond Bulpin will certainly hope so. After rechristening their name to Indian Arrows from AIFF XI from the 1st of Feb, their first task will be to strike down Viva Kerala with the precision and swiftness of an arrow. After a disastrous start to their campaign they are suddenly proving their skeptics wrong. They have lost just once in their last four games and moved up to tenth in the table ahead of the likes of Pune FC. Credit to Desmond Bulpin for moulding this young side into a decent outfit that can give any team a pretty good fight. Jewell and Shilton have been consisitent for them in midfield and Malswamfela has been their player to watch for. However you get the feeling that they will struggle each time they take the field due to their inexperience.

Viva Kerala have been bolstered by the signings of India international N.P Pradeep and Chinta Chandrashekar from Salgaocar. They look a formidable side now, certainly for The Indian Arrows. They have a decent enough squad to choose from. Anil Kumar has been their standout performer this season and once again the Keralites will look to him to get them the goals. Felix Chimaokwu will most probably partner him up front. Mohammad Shafi, brother of Mohammad Rafi will once again have an important role to play alongside Pradeep. Bello Rasaq and Charles Dzisah will hold fort at the back for Kunnikrishnan’s side. They are no pushovers especially at Kerala and one wouldn’t bet against them taking all three points from this encounter.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For:

N.P Pradeep (Viva Kerala), Jewel Raja (Indian Arrows)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction:

Viva Kerala 1-0 Indian Arrows



Kolhapur – 29th Jan 2011 – 3.30 PM IST

Any team that beats Dempo 4-0 certainly has some quality and hence it’s surprising to see Air India second from bottom in the league table. It has been nothing short of a disastrous start for the Airmen and one would certainly feel that things would have reached desperation stage for them had they not beaten Dempo in their last match. The defence has been their biggest let down this season conceding 16 goals so far. Even their strikers seemed off colour until the last match against Dempo. A repeat performance and they could certainly take something out of the game against the Green and Maroons. Samson Singh was brilliant against Dempo and will need to continue the good performance. Coach Yusuf Ansari needs to get more out of his foreigners Okorogor Praise and Yusuf Tijani. They also have some promising youngsters like Reuben D’Souza and Colin Abranches. Soccor Velho has also been on the football scene for quite some time now and has the experience. They will need another mighty performance against Mohun Bagan who are on a three match winning streak.

It has been a stop start campaign for the Green-&-Maroons this season. They started badly under Stanley Rosario, then had a brief revival under Subhas Bhowmick and then slumped again to two consecutive losses until another brief revival sees them fifth in the table ahead of Dempo. They have scalped two India defenders in Deepak Mondal and Anwar Ali. Their backline suddenly looks one of the best in India if you add Mohan Raj and Okwy Diamondstar to the line up. As they say all good teams start from the back, Mr. Bhowmick will certainly have plenty to choose at defence and he can now start building his team slowly to challenge for the remainder of the season. Edeh Chidi has been outstanding for them this season and one would be surprised if he doesn’t get on the score sheet again. Jose Barreto’s return is certain to boost the morale of the young players in the team.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For:

Samson Singh (Air India), Edeh Chidi (Mohun Bagan)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction:

Air India 1-1 Mohun Bagan



Balewadi – 30th Jan 2011 – 7:00 PM IST

This game has a dull draw written all over it. Both teams have been struggling this season. Pune FC hasn’t won in five games and has suffered four consecutive losses. Although they welcomed back Subrata Paul in their last game against Churchill Brothers, they still produced a below par performance that surely wouldn’t have gone down well in front if their home fans. Derrick Pereira is surely finding it tough this season. Although the nucleus of the team has remained the same they haven’t t been able to produce even a fraction of the performance they put in last season. They are definitely missing Chika Wali in midfield. One wouldn’t expect Derrick to go all out for a win against JCT as he would be keen on assuring himself of a point rather than go all out for a win and possibly get nothing out of the game. Keita and Edmar have been their biggest let downs this season. Lester Fernandes has been patchy on the left while Ajayan is looking past his prime.

Another problem for Derrick has been the composition of his foreigners. He has been unable to find a permanent place for Izumi Arata – one of his best players last season – as Lamine Tamba has been preferred as the third foreigner to lend solidity at the back. JCT too, being an away game, will be happy to settle for a point especially after suffering a loss against Salgaocar in the previous fixture. Omolaja Kareem and Amandeep Singh had a pretty good game against Salgaocar and once again the onus will be on them to anchor the defensive line-up.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For:

Izumi Arata (Pune FC), Amandeep Singh (JCT)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction:

Pune FC 0-0 JCT



Kolkata – 30th Jan – 1:45 PM IST

These are desperate times for Subrata Bhattacharya (Jr) and his Oilmen. They are bottom of the League after eleven games and don’t look like a team that has the quality to remain afloat this season. Although they are just a couple of points away from safety they don’t really have the players to get them to 25 points – which would most probably be the magic figure to avoid relegation. Rajat Gosh Dastidar in goal has been their lone warrior this season producing consistent displays every week. Jatin Singh Bisht has produced flashes of his old self that saw him don India colours but ONGC definitely need more from him. N D Opara has been waging a lone battle upfront without much support.

Chirag United will be licking their lips at the prospect of playing the bottom placed team in their own den but they have to guard against complacency. They have been the draw specialists this season with six draws in their eleven games. Junior has been missing for them in the last four rounds due to injury and the goals have dried up. Joshimar has been guilty of missing a few penalties this season. Mohammad Rafiq scored his first goal of the season in the last game and will be hoping to get on the score sheet again.

Chirag fans will be looking forward to another good performance from the compact midfield comprising on Denson Devdas, Gouranga Biswas, Lalkamal Bhowmick and Jerry Zirsanga. Subrata Bhattacharya will settle for nothing less than three points. As ONGC take the field on Sunday they know that they are fighting to save themselves from relegation come the end of the season, if they produce another insipid display.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For:

Lalkamal Bhowmick (Chirag United), N.D. Opara (ONGC)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction:

Chirag 3-0 ONGC



Bamgalore – 30th Jan – 3:00 PM IST

After some possible hair dryer treatment from India’s Alex Ferguson, Dempo’s underperforming stars will look to turn the tide against HAL at Bangalore. The mauling against Air India was one of their worst performances in recent memory and Dempo will know that the margin for error from now on is minimal if they want to mount a serious challenge to retain their crown. Their team just hasn’t clicked this season despite having an abundance of riches at their disposal.

Beto has been their lone bright spark often waging a lonely battle against the opposition. Ogba Kalu has proved to be a disastrous signing so far for Armando Colaco, as he has failed to produce the kind of performance that made him a star at Churchill Brothers. The defence has been the biggest let down. John and Domnic look woefully slow and were torn apart against Salgaocar and Air India. They look extremely suspect against raw pace and are slow off the blocks. It remains to be seen though whether Mahesh Gawli would start. Another option for Armando would be to partner Iranian Rouhollah Semieinia with Mahesh at centre back and pull out Kalu in favour of the returning Climax at the centre of midfield. Ranti has been guilty of missing three penalties this season but it is unlikely that he will be dropped, as striker Joaquim Abranches is still on the sidelines. Clifton Gonsalves will in all probability partner Ranti up front while Clifford Miranda will most probably replace Nicolau Borges on the left.

HAL know that they have nothing to lose aganst Dempo. They have exceeded people’s expectations after picking 11 points so far including a famous win against Mohun Bagan in their second game. This is only their second home game, the first one being against Salgaocar where they lost 1-0. They will be keen to put up an impressive show in front of their home fans. R.C Prakash has been their jack in the box upfront popping up with goals and important assists. Xavier Vijaykumar and Murali J. have scored two goals each for them this season and will once again carry the burden of expectations from the home fans. Their goalkeeper Pramod too has pulled off good saves in every game. On the left they got Bengkok Namirpan who will definitely cause problems for the Dempo defence.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For:

Clifford Miranda (Dempo), R.C. Prakash (HAL)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction:

HAL 1-3 Dempo




KOLHAPUR – 30th Jan – 3.30 pm IST

Khalid Jamil manages to surprise everyone every time. There were serious financial problems for the Essel Group and they hadn’t even signed players about a month before the League could start. But all those problems seem history now and Khalid’s young Turks are sitting pretty at fourth in the table with twenty points two behind Churchill Brothers. They have played hard tough football often shutting shop and grinding out the 1-0 and 2-0 victories.

Nicholas Rodrigues on the flanks has re discovered the form that at one time made him one of the hottest properties in Goa. The Man of the Tournament of Goa’s winning Santosh trophy squad of 2005 has re invented himself under Khalid Jamil. Almost every Mumbai FC goal has been assisted by Nicholas on either flank. Ebi Sukore has been the main beneficiary of Nicholas’ crosses with 6 goals so far. He will enjoy his game even more now that he has the company of Abhishek Yadav in attack. Noel Wilson has performed the role of a play maker to perfection while Kutty Mani has anchored things brilliantly in midfield.

They are certainly no pushovers at home holding even the mighty East Bengal at Kolhapur. Salgaocar will find it hard to break down the Mumbai defence on a hard bouncy surface at the Sahu Maharaj Stadium. However the form of their young brave hearts Francis Fernandes and Anthony Barbosa has given them enough belief that they can unlock any defence on their day. And the work will be made easier if Ryuji Sueoka has another rendezvous.

The Japanese has been sensational for them since moving from Mohun Bagan. They have also signed India internationals James Singh, Govin Singh and Baldeep Singh giving them more options in midfield. Luciano Sabrosa has been their wall at the back and has worn the captains arm-band with pride, giving his everything at every single game. Salgaocar need a win here to stay in hot pursuit of East Bengal, especially when the Red and Golds have a tough match ahead and may drop points. Karim will know the importance of three points here as another three against Air India in their next match would mean that they will be right up there challenging for the title when the second leg resumes.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For:

Ryuiji Sueoka (Salgaocar), Abhishek Yadav (Mumbai FC)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction:

Mumbai FC 1-2 Salgaocar


4 Responses to “I-League 2010/11: Preview And Predictions – Round 12”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Arindom Basu says:

    I am sorry to say this, but the previews are highly biased. You predicted wins for all the Goan teams and even Churchill draw against East Bengal? LOL :) It’s evident that the author is a Goa football fan and the previews are smelling anti-kolkata sentiments. An advise from me, please remove your Goa-tainted glasses and think rationally.

    My predictions-

    East Bengal 2-1 Churchill
    Viva 1-2 AIFF
    AI 0-3 Bagan
    Chirag 2-0 ONGC
    Pune 1-0 JCT
    HAL 1-1 Dempo
    MFC 0-0 Salgaocar

  2. Munna says:

    It is interesting to see which of the national Team players signed for which club after coming back from AFC Asia cup? Any idea about the club of Renedy Singh? Also because of AFC cup club tournament, East bengal and Dempo will lose some ground and it gives good opportunity to Churchill and Salgaocar clubs to win the I-league.

    • Somnath_Sengupta says:

      Rennedy hasnt signed for a club yet. He will probably join Baichung to play for newly formed Sikkim United.

      Anwar, Dipak Mandal signed for Mohun Bagan. Manju signed for Pune FC. Pradeep for Viva Kerala. James signed for Salgaocar.

      Check the live transfers page in thehardtackle. We list I-League transfers there.