I-League now in its business end and the clubs are now well aware about each other’s strengths and weakness. The League is wide open; anybody from top 6 can go on to win the league. With only a handful of games left in the season, all teams have everything to play for in the upcoming rounds. Round 20 is no exception with some critical fixtures scheduled to be played out.
Red Machine Looks Forward To Upset Bengaluru FC.
Defending champions Churchill Brothers Sports club is 2nd from the bottom, but their recent form in all competition is encouraging. The year 2014 has been revolution for them. The club, after winning Federation cup has earned some crucial points in their battle to stay up. They will be hosted by Bengaluru FC who faced unexpected defeat against a rock bottom team Rangdajied United FC in the last round.
Bengaluru FC’s juggernaut has stuttered since the winter break. First, they were held by Mumbai FC at home and then had to face defeat against the club from North East. They are under immense pressure to get maximum points against Churchill Brothers. There is not much gap between them and teams below them and a drop of 2 points could dethrone them from no. 1 position. Captain Sunil Chettri is in fantastic form and much would depend on him. On the other hand, Churchill Brothers are high on confidence. The team is linking up well up front and defense has kept their cool. Balwant Singh, who made his debut for the national team against Bangladesh, will be looking to continue his good run for the club. Trinidad International Anthony Wolfe and Egyptian midfield maestro Shabana will have a huge role to play in the match. On paper Churchill Brothers midfield looks strong and if they could play true to their potential we may have an upset on the cards.
Kolkata Chota Derby!
Kolkata “Chota” Derby will not be just any derby this time, but fates of two teams depend on this match. Mohammedan Sporting would play against Mohun Bagan, which is expected to be a mouthwatering encounter. Both teams are struggling at the bottom half of the table which makes this match even more important. Mohammedan has 16 points in their kitty with the same number of games while Mohun Bagan has 20 points in 18 matches. Loss for either team can drag them in the mix of relegation, especially looking at the form of the two bottom teams Churchill Brothers and Rangdajied United.
Mohammedan Sporting earned moral boosting victory last week over Sporting Clube de Goa and they would be pumped up to perform in the same tempo against struggling Mohun Bagan. The Maroon & Green may miss their talismanic striker Odafa again in this match though some reports suggest he may get fit by the time of this game. Coach of Mohun Bagan Karim Bencharifa will be under immense pressure. The results have not gone his way and if they could pull a win against the city rivals in the match then it will do a world of good to him. On other hand Sanjoy Sen will be hoping that his team replicated their last week performance and give him maximum points from the match.
Dudu-Duffy To Continue Their Good Form.
After some hiccups in the middle of the season Salgoacar FC have come back on the track, the difference between them and league leaders are just 3 points. The reason of this revival has been the double D effect, Dudu-Duffy upfront for Salgaocar FC. The strikers since playing together have looked dangerous and the Scottish-Nigerian combo has worked well for Derrick Perieria. Both the players are complimenting each other well but it will be a big test for both against Mumbai FC who is known for their well-organized defence. If Salgaocar are able to get a win here it will be their 4th win on the trot. On other hand Mumbai FC has maximum draws in the league. The Khalid Jamil mentored team is known to play for one point and it will be an interesting match since both teams known to play on the counter.
The Panjim Derby
Dempo Sports club has not won a match against Sporting Clube de Goa this season. Both the teams have faced each other in the Goa Pro League, I-League first leg and Federation Cup semi Final but on every occasion Sporting Clube de Goa had the last laugh. Dempo Sports club after the break, have looked good after registering two back to back victories in the league. The inclusion of Afghanistan International Amiri and Australian striker Tolgay Ozbey has worked well for the Golden Eagles.
Sporting Clube de Goa will be going into this match after a disappointing loss faced against Mohammedan Sporting. They could have been on top of the table if they had registered victory over Mohamemdan Sporting. Coach Oscar Bruzon is well aware that slight lack of concentration would cost a golden opportunity of winning the league. A lot will depend on Boima Karpeh, the striker has not performed well since last few matches and that has become a cause of concern for their fans. A victory would take them closer to the title and defeat would be disastrous for them.
Rejuvenated Rangdajied In Search Of Three Points.
Randajied United FC is high on confidence after defeating league leaders Bengaluru FC last week. They will host United SC of Kolkata in their next match. Rangdijiad would be missing their last match hero Ranti Martins in the match, who will not get a chance to play his former club. The new coach Herring Shangpliang would look to continue his winning start with his new club. He would have services of experienced players like Steven Dias, Tomba Singh in the midfield. United SC have struggled to keep their lead in last 2 matches and this is a big worry for the club. They are not out of the relegation zone and a loss in this match could create a problem for the beleagured club. The squad does not have the depth to cover for the players who have left in winter and this is hurting the purple brigade.
Mohammedan Sporting V Mohun Bagan AC, March 8, 3.00 PM
Bengaluru FC V Churchill Brothers SC, March 8, 4.00 PM
Dempo SC V Sporting Clube de Goa, March 8, 6.00 PM
Salgaocar FC V Mumbai FC, March 9, 5.00 PM
Pune FC V Shillong Lajong FC, March 9, 6.30 PM
Rangdijiad United FC V United SC, March 9, 5.00 PM