Fatorda Stadium, Goa
18th March , 2014
Churchill Brothers Sports Club may be in the bottom of the table in the I-league, but their cup form has been exceptional. After going down against Bengaluru FC and Persipura Jaypura they had to make a strong statement against Maldives league winner New Radiant FC. The Red Machines did exactly that, thrashing Maldives side 3-0. Now they would host, S-League side Home United FC in their next encounter in AFC Cup 2014 at Fatorda Stadium, Margao.
Team News And Tactical Brief
Churchill Brothers have been inconsistent throughout the season. They had been going through a rough period and AFC Cup is the perfect competition, which can put some smiles on the fans of the club. The club is in 2nd position with 3 points in 2 matches. Their first match was away from home against Indonesian club Persipura Jayapura which they lost 2-0. The performance was decent in the match, though they were found wanting in front of the goal despite creating numerous chances in the match. In the next against New Radiant they rectified their mistake and registered thumping 3-0 victory.
Mariano Dias would be upbeat going into the match against Home United. The return of Balwant Singh and Saran Singh would give him more options to work with. Balwant Singh has been in sensational goal scoring form for the Red Machines, the Punjabi striker missed the last match due to injury and his return would bolster the attacking half of the club. Anthony Pereira did well playing in place of Saran Singh in the last match so it will be interesting to see who will get a nod from the coach to start.
Club Captain and India International Lenny Rodrigues has been a key player for the club throughout the season. The lanky midfielder will be useful in breaking the offensive moves of Home united. He is more than handy when it comes to attacking third with his long ranger testing goalkeeper now and then. Egyptian attacking midfielder Abdel Hamed Shabana has been a star so far since his arrival in India. He has done exceptionally well for the club creating numerous opportunities for the forwards. He will be an important part of the starting eleven in the match.
Churchill Brothers now will have all three strikers’ available selection. Balwant injury turned out to be blessing for Mariano Dias led side. Costa Rican striker Christian Lagos justified his inclusion in the side scoring brace. His pairing with Anthony Wolfe was exceptional in the match. It will be interesting to see if club coaching staff start with two strikers or they prefer going with all three in form strikers. If all three clicked together, then it could turn out to be nightmare for Home United defense.
Expected Starting XI: Arindam Bhattacharya; Denzil Franco, Daniell Zeleny, Dharmaraj Ravanan, Raju Yumnam;Bineesh Balan, Lenny Rodrigues, Abdelhameed Shabana; Anthony Wolfe, Cristian Lagos, Balwant Singh.
Just like Churchill Brothers, Home United had not done well in S-League so far. The Singaporean side has managed to just win 1 match and lost 2 matches. Even in the AFC Cup they are struggling at the bottom of the group. They have to secure maximum points against Churchill Brothers to keep their hope alive in the AFC Cup 2014.
They had a bad start to the AFC cup losing their match against New Radiant 1-0 and then held by Persipura Jayapura at home. They had the opportunity to secure full three points against Persipura but the second half striker from Feri Phanabol cancelled out their lead. Earlier Yasir Hanapi has given them the lead in first half. They would have to go all-out attack against Churchill Brothers to secure maximum points.
The defense has not done well for the club so far in the season. They have faltered under pressure. French centre back Sirina Camara has to step up to stop a strong striking pair of Churchill Brothers. Team captain Noh Rahman would be under pressure to deliver and his performance would be definitely key player in the match. The experience Singaporean International would look to lead the team from the front.
Lee Kwan-woo would be the man to watch out for in the midfield. The Korean was top goal scorer for the club last season and so far he hasn’t been able to replicate his last year performance. Yasir Hanapi has been among the goals this season. The midfielder already scored 3 goals for the club in all competition. He scored a goal in the last match against Persipura Jayapura. He will look to give a good performance against Churchill Brothers. The biggest worry for the club is a lack of goals. Brazilian-Japanese striker Bruno Castanheira has to produce something sensational in the match to help his team. A loss may end their hopes of making it in the knockouts of the tournament.
Expected Starting XI: Sharil Jantan; Ismail Yunos, Serini Camara, Precious Emuejeraye, Noh Rahman;Mohammad Yacob, Lee Kwan Woo, Mohammad Fazli, Mohammad Syahrin; Qui li, Jumaat Jantan.
Players To Watch Out
Christian Lagos (Churchill Brothers)
The Costa Rican International had come in India with a huge reputation, but some inconsistent performance had kept him out of the squad. Injury to Balwant Singh in last match gave Lagos an opportunity to prove his mettle and the striker did exactly that. The bulky striker was instrumental in thrashing of New Radiant. He would be hungry to score more goals to earn his place in League starting XI.
Yasir Hanapi (Home United)
Yasir Hanapi has been impressive this season for the Home United. The youngster is their top goal scorer in all competition. He would be looking to give one more good performance in the match and impress national team coach.
Churchill Brothers 2 – 0 Home United
Churchill Brother has good players up front inform of Lagos, Balwant and Wolfe. If all three combine well with each other than it could be tennis score-line going by the form of the Home United. Home United has failed to put pressure on opponent defense and will find it difficult to break the resilient defense of Churchill Brothers.