PUNE FC
v
ONGC FC

Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune
13th March, 2010 – 7:00 PM IST

***

Derrick Pereira’s side find themselves slotted at eighth, after the set of round 18 matches rolled out last week. The red lizards succumbed to their sixth loss of the season, as they were outdone by a solitary Chirag United goal, conceded meekly before the lemon break. Derrick Pereira would take some consolation, as his side was much better and peppered the Chirag goal with some shots, but just couldn’t find the back of net. As the Pune side looks to cement their place in the mid table, Round 19 fixture sees them welcome the ONGC side, in a Maharashtra derby. The Pune side will be looking to collect all three points against a struggling ONGC side, at home, as Keita grasped a late equalizer in the corresponding fixture in Kolhapur in December. Derrick will be hoping that his striking lads finish off the moves more clinically in this game, which was the main reason Pune FC couldn’t hoard any points against the Durand cup holder Chirag United, in their previous round. Izumi Arata is also expected to return in this match, after he missed most of the match against Chirag United due to injury in opening minutes.

ONGC FC, mentored by Subrata Bhattacharya’s (Jr), suffered their third successive loss, as they were ousted by fellow relegation battlers Air India, at home. It was another nail in the institutional side’s coffin, as the side leaked in two crucial goals, which now sees the club 3 points behind the eleventh placed Air India. It will be very difficult for ONGC to stay afloat this season, as they make a short trip to Pune to face their Round 19 opponents, Pune FC. Captain Badmus Babatunde is the one man army for the ONGC side as the Nigerian lobbed in his fifth for the season. A surprise win in this match would certainly throw the cat among the pigeons, as it would set the temperature soar in the relegation zone. The defense needs to showcase an exemplary performance if ONGC is at all entertaining the thoughts of garnering any points from this tie in Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune.

TheHardTackle’s PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Keita (Pune FC), B.Babatunde (ONGC FC)

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION

Pune FC  2 – 1 ONGC FC


AIR INDIA
v
INDIAN ARROWS

Sahu Maharaj Stadium, Kohlapur

13th March, 2011 – 4:00 PM IST

***

The pilots won a virtual six pointer at Kolhapur past Wednesday, increasing the gap between themselves and ONGC FC, who are placed at the rock bottom of the I-league table. Manjit Singh scored his fourth of the season as Dias scored the eventual winner after the rest. The pilots are equal on points with JCT and one point behind Viva Kerala, as they welcome young brigade of Indian Arrows. The match will be played out Sahu Maharaj Stadium in Kolhapur, as Yusuf Ansari’s men look to leap frog their opponents in the table. Air India would be high on confidence and would like to build on the back of this win.

Indian Arrows, who missed out their Round 18 match, due to Pre-Olympic qualifier commitments, travel the distance to meet their Round 19 opponents in Air India. Desmond Buplin’s side were defeated at home by Churchill Brothers in Round 17, Jeje getting on the score sheet for the AIFF sponsored team. Indian Arrows are just two points above their hosts, currently sitting at tenth in the league. Most of the lads would be fresh from their match against Myanmar, and would be raring to go for this crucial match, just as they did, when they beat them at Gurgaon earlier this season.

Three points would be very crucial for either side in this encounter as both the sides look to increase the gap between themselves and the drop zone.

TheHardTackle’s PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Samson Singh (Air India), J.Lalpekhlua (Indian Arrows)

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION

Air India 2 – 2 Indian Arrows


VIVA KERALA
v
CHURCHILL BROTHERS

Jawahar Municipal Stadium, Kannur
13th March 2011 – 4:00 PM IST

***

Kunhikrishnan’s Viva Kerala took their first significant step towards playing in the next season of top flight football in India, when they won their third match in the season. The Neelapadda defeated a strong HAL side at home in the last round to secure all three points. The Kerala side is now placed at eleventh in the league, gaining a spot. The veteran NP Pradeep scored for the Keralites in the midst of another gritty performance by Anil Kumar in the middle of the park. Kunhikrishnan might want his team to continue with the good work at home, as his side welcomes the Goan Whites – Churchill Brothers. Bello Rasaq led defense needs to be on the top of their game as they try to stop the star studded Churchill line up.  CS Sabeeth is expected to return for this fixture to help his side put more points in their kitty, as his side looks to avoid relegation.

Churchill Brothers won their third match in their last five games as they went past an impressive Mumbai FC side at home in the last round . Odafa scored for the second time since his return in as many games along with the vastly improving Kiwi Vincent. Kayne scored his eleventh of the season as he completed his fourth brace, quickly catching up on the Nigerian hitman. The main concern for the Goa side would be that the former champions have been letting in easy goals in their last few matches, and would certainly not want any sort of pressure against a resurgent Viva Kerala side, away from home. The coachless side has IFA shield commitments to fulfill after their Round 19 tie, and would certainly want their players to remain injury free, as IFA shield could  the only hope of silverware for the defending champions.

TheHardTackle’s PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Anil Kumar (Viva Kerala), Odafa (Churchill Brothers)

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION

Viva Kerala 1– 2 Churchill Brothers


HAL SC
v
CHIRAG UNITED SC

Sree Kantheerava Stadium, Bangalore
13th March, 2011 – 3:30 PM IST

***

The Bengaluru side was undone by a struggling and desperate to win Viva Kerala side in their Round 18 match at Sree Kantheerava Stadium. The institutional side find themselves slotted at ninth in the league, five points off the drop zone. J Murali was left ruing the missed chances in their last encounter and would want RC Prakash, Vijaykumar , Murli and Hamza led attack to continue with the good work upfront and finish off the moves. The Bangalore based side welcome the Durand Cup champions Chirag United in their second consecutive home match in Round 19. HAL would like to accumulate some points from this fixture as they look to make the most of these home matches, after two back to back losses.

The Kolkata giants travel to Bengaluru to face off against HAL SC, after registering a win over an under estimated Pune FC side at home. Shankar Oraon scored for the Kolkata Purples as they find themselves cemented at seventh in the table after seventeen matches.  Joshimar and Lalkamal Bhowmick  had more than a decent match as they orchestrated many moves. This was Chirag United’s first win since January and much hyped transfer of Sunil Chettri. Subrata Bhattacharya would be hoping that his side picks up more points at Bangalore as his side looks to finish the season strongly. With IFA shield coming up, Chirag United would like to rekindle their hopes of winning their maiden title, after winning the Durand cup already this year.

TheHardTackle’s PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

Xavier Vijaykumar (HAL SC), Joshimar (Chirag United SC)

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTIONS

HAL SC 1– 1 Chirag United