Round-17 Prediction Statistics:

Correct Predictions : 3/6
Exact Score-line : 1/6

Season’s Prediction Statistics:

Correct Predictions : 62/116
Exact Score-line : 26/116

HAL SC
v
VIVA KERALA

Sree Kantheerava Stadium, Bangalore
8th March, 2011 – 3:30 PM IST

The back to back quick dose of I-league matches starts with the Bangalore side Hindustan Aeronautics Limited welcoming the Kerala side, Viva Kerala at Sree Kantheerava Stadium. J.Murali’s side could not stop the Salgaocar juggernaut in the last round, as they were outdone by three second half goals. The Bangalore Greens find themselves slotted at ninth, tied on points with Pune FC and a point behind Chirag United. Coach J. Murali might be hoping that his side reinvents their decent home form as they return to string their consecutive three home games, starting with this match. The Bangalore based institutional side has looked good in their recent matches and would be planning to put maximum points in their kitty to stay up this season.

Viva Kerala still sit at twelfth in the table after they were outplayed by Mohun Bagan in their last round match at YBK, Kolkata. CS Sabeeth, who has undoubtedly been the best player for the Kerala side in the season so far, got a consolation goal for Kunhikrishnan’s side, taking his tally to three for the season. Sabeeth even scored when the two sides met in Kerala, earlier in December. The Neelapadda are just one point off the drop zone and would like to pump in a good performance, collecting points from this tie, as the bottom of the table spices up. With 9 matches remaining in the season, Viva now needs to start putting in mettlesome performances, specially against the mid table sides, if they want to entertain any chances to play in the top flight of Indian football next season.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For:

Narender Meetei (HAL SC), CS Sabeeth (Viva Kerala)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction:

HAL SC 2 – 1 Viva Kerala

—–

CHIRAG UNITED
v
PUNE FC

Yuvabharati Krirangan, Kolkata
8th March, 2010 – 1:45 PM IST

The Subrata Bhattacharya mentored side is positioned at seventh in the table, with twenty points against their name, as their Round 17 scheduled match against JCT was postponed. The break would certainly help the Durand Cup holders, as they welcome Pune FC side to Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Tuesday. Chirag United have been disappointing since they signed big stars in winter, drawing away from home twice and losing twice at home. The Kolkata giants have certainly lost their way after a wonderful start to the season, and clearly the problem of scoring has been highlighted since. The defense has let in 12 goals in their last five games, which has certainly dented the title hopes. As the Kolkata side looks to revive their season, they would also like the new signing Sunil Chhetri to prove his mettle and get on the scoring sheet in the league.

The Red Lizards play their second match in five days, with Chirag United lads much fresher, as they missed their Round 17 match and the Pune side coming off a victory in their last round against Air India, it would be a match to watch out for. With one point separating the two sides, it will be crucial three points up for grabs for the two mid table sides. Izumi and the Brazilian captain Edmar, both got on the score sheet for Derrick’s side against the Pilots, and Japanese will be undoubtedly the man to watch out for Chirag’s defense, as he scored in the reverse fixture at Balewadi last year in the reverse fixture.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For:

D. Devadas (Chirag United), Izumi Arata(Pune FC)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction:

Chirag United SC 1 – 1 Pune FC

—–

EAST BENGAL
v
JCT FC

Yuvabharati Krirangan, Kolkata
9th March, 2010 – 1:45 PM IST

The Red-&-Gold brigade mentored by Trevor Morgan slipped to the third spot in the table, for the first time this season, one point behind Churchill Brothers, but with a game in hand. East Bengal went down at home to Mumbai FC in their round17 encounter. It was again a tale of missed chances in front of the goal, as the former champions missed their talismanic Mehtab Hussain, top scorer Tolgay and Okpara. Syed Rahim Nabi had an excellent game for the Kolkata giants; however, his crosses were not finished well by the Robin Singh led attack. Trevor Morgan’s side hasn’t won in their last five games, losing two of them and securing one point from the rest. East Bengal welcomes JCT FC at YBK on Wednesday and will be hoping to collect all three points against a struggling side, as they did in Ludhiana. A win here would boost the confidence back into the players and the strikers would like to hit the back of the net more often in this match. East Bengal has a tough away trip after this match against table toppers Salgaocar SC, which would be very crucial for the title race. Trevor Morgan would like his players to remain injury and booking free in this match, especially with the three influential players who are returning for this match.

Sukhi’s side continues with their lame and disappointing season, as the Millmen were defeated for the eighth time this season. The inaugural champions were outplayed by the champions Dempo SC at Guru Nanak Stadium, Phagwara, after surprisingly taking an early lead, only to leak in a lazy goal just before the full time whistle, which would have surely left Sukhwinder Sukhi fuming. The Ludhiana side has been oscillating in-&-out of the drop zone for the most part of the season, and is currently positioned at eleventh, two points off the drop the zone. It will be tough ask for Sukhi’s men to deliver all three points at YBK against East Bengal, as they try to revive their title challenge, and the guests haven’t managed to win a match in their last seven encounters.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For:

Tolgay Ozbey (East Bengal), B. Ibrahim (JCT FC)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction:

East Bengal 3 – 1 JCT FC

—–

CHURCHILL BROTHERS
v
MUMBAI FC

PJN Stadium, Margaon, Goa
9th March, 2011 – 3:45 PM IST

Churchill Brothers head coach, Vincent Subramaniam resigned under controversial circumstances, after the Goan team’s early round 17 match in Gurgaon, against Indian Arrows. Churchill brothers managed to win the match comfortably with Odafa and the new hit man Vincent donning the scorer’s boots. The victory taking the former champions to the second spot in the table, after East Bengal failed to win their match. The Goan Whites welcome a dangerous Mumbai FC side to PJN stadium in Goa, for their round 18 tie. Churchill has a deadly striking force with the likes of Odafa, Vincent, Amaury, Rafi and with the return of India international Gourmangi Singh and Steven Dias, both the defense and the mid-field has gained teeth and has looked good.

Mumbai FC comes off an impressive win, away from home, against the mighty East Bengal in the last round, with Ebi Sukore and Niger Henry Ezeh hitting the back of the net early. Khalid Jamil’s side were on the brink of getting dissolved in the beginning of the season, but now the Mumbai lads have struck the league hard, making full impact. The Mumbai side has been surprisingly consistent and sits at comfortable fifth in the league, just three points behind the reigning champions Dempo SC. This would be a very enjoyable game as both the sides would be looking for all three points, the hosts being the desperate ones and the visiting party high on confidence. Ebi Sukore would be the man to watch out for from the Mumbai outfit. He has already scored 7 goals this season.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For:

O. Okolie (Churchill Brothers), Ebi Sukore (Mumbai FC)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction:

Churchill Brothers 1 – 1 Mumbai FC

—–

ONGC FC
v
AIR INDIA

Sahu Maharaj Stadium, Kohlapur
9th March, 2011 – 4:00 PM IST

The battle of relegation has three precious points up for grabs in round 18 as ONGC take on The Pilots at Sahu Maharaj Stadium in Kolhapur. Win for either side would catapult them out of the drop zone, if Viva Kerala fails to win their encounter in Bengaluru. Subrata Bhattacharya’s (Jr) side registered their tenth loss out of the seventeen games played in the league, tottering at the rock bottom. His side was defeated by the reigning champions Dempo SC, at home, in their previous round match after a gritty performance by Peter Odafe lead defense, who managed lock out star studded Dempo line up. Subrata Bhattacharya (Jr) would hope that his team echoes the same performance against a much easy to handle and fellow strugglers, Air India, at home. It is still wide open relegation battle as a victory for the Babatunde led side could see the drop zone change drastically.

The Airmen too registered a defeat in previous round as they were outdone by Pune FC at Balewadi Sports Complex. O. Praise, who has certainly been no less than a revelation for the club, scored again to give the visitors a shock lead in the last round, taking his tally to five in quick succession, only to see Pune side fight back and garner all three points. It is a massive game for Yusuf Ansari’s men as they look to fight back and stay in the premier division of Indian football. O. praise would be the man to watch out for, and the defenders need to showcase an extraordinary performance to hoard all three points against fellow strugglers, as they have failed to take three points since last six rounds.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For:

Babatunde (ONGC FC), O. Praise (Air India)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction:

ONGC FC 2 – 1 Air India

—–

DEMPO SC
v
MOHUN BAGAN

PJN Stadium, Margaon, Goa
10th March, 2011 – 3:45 PM IST

Another big match in this round’s set of fixtures set to be played at Margaon on Thursday, as Dempo welcome The Mariners. Dempo have looked lethal and professional in their display in their previous rounds. Since their shock loss to Air India, the holders haven’t lost a point. The Panjim side got out of jail when captain Ranti Martins scored his second goal of the season, in the dying moments of their last round match against a stubborn ONGC defense. The champions welcome the Maroon-&-Green brigade and will be looking for another victory, to maintain pressure on East Bengal, and any slip ups from the Kolkata side may lead to all Goan Podium finish after this round. Dempo would like to continue with the winning momentum and mentality in this match at home, as the side have accommodated three points from tough games in recent rounds. The back line led by Samir Naik and Mahesh Gawli has only conceded twice in their last five I-league games, and have been the spine at the back protecting Subhashish’s goal. Dempo coach Armando Colaco would be hoping that his players avoid any sort of injuries in this tie, as his side travels to Lebanon next Thursday to fulfill their AFC Qualifying commitment.

Mohun Bagan finally broke their draught when they overcame the Viva Kerala challenge at home last Saturday, lifting Subhas Bhowmick’s side to sixth. Muritala and captain Barreto both scored for the Green-and-Maroon army in a comfortable win. The Mariners haven’t been able to live upto the expectation, especially after Subhas Bhowmick joined them. After initial flickering, the team seems to have lost their swagger and is now looking to come back into the top positions, after the victory in previous round. It will be a difficult away trip for Mohun Bagan, as Dempo look to challenge for the title with 10 games to go for them.

TheHardTackle’s Players To Watch Out For:

Ranty Martins (Dempo SC), Barreto (Mohun Bagan AC)

TheHardTackle’s Prediction:

Dempo SC 2 – 1 Mohun Bagan