Churchill Brothers have already booked their place in the semi-finals of the 35th Federation Cup and after Monday either Dempo or Mohammedan Sporting will join them.
United SC vs Eagles FC (16:35; LIVE on Ten Action)
The future of coach Eelco Schattorie at United SC looks uncertain but the Kolkata club have the opportunity to finish second in the group if they beat Eagles. The purple shirts narrowly beat Pune FC and another win in this tournament will give them confidence for the upcoming IFA Shield and the remainder of the I-League campaign. Similarly Eagles will aim for another fighting display and get some more competitive action before the all-important second division. United SC could be without their injured striker Ranti Martins while Eagles’ Ghanaian centre back Charles Dzisah is ruled out due to suspension.
Key Battle: Sheikh Azim vs Koko Sakibo
Having scored against both Pune and Churchill Brothers already, Sakibo would be aiming to find the back of the net in this clash also. United SC’s Azim will have to give a strong performance in central defence and keep a close eye on Sakibo.
Churchill Brothers vs Pune FC (19:00; LIVE on Ten Action)
Relegation-threatened Churchill Brothers booked their place in the semi-finals after winning the first two games and thus can afford to relax in this final group match. It would be interesting to see what changes coach Mariano Dias makes as their semi-final fixture is on Thursday. Pune will be playing for pride but coach Mike Snoei will surely be demanding a performance from his players as they have been dismal so far with just one point from two games. Pune won the I-League meeting between the sides 1-0 thanks to a goal from Calum Angus and victory in this game would give the Red Lizards some consolation ahead of their I-League title challenge.
Key Battle: Lenny Rodrigues – Arata Izumi
Lenny may not start in this game but if he does, then the midfield battle between him and national teammate Arata may prove to be decisive. The Japanese-born medio, like most of the Pune players, has been below par so far and thus he would be determined to fare better in this game.
Bhowanipore vs United Sikkim (17:00)
This will be an ideal dress rehearsal for both these I-League hopefuls ahead of the second division campaign. Bhowanipore gave a good account of themselves against both Dempo and Mohammedan Sporting while United Sikkim have also performed better than expected. Both clubs have the chance to register their first-ever victory in the Federation Cup and the eventual winner will strike a psychological blow to their second division rivals.
Key Battle: Gurpreet Singh – Somide Adelaja
Former East Bengal and Mohammedan Sporting defender Gurpreet has had a solid Federation Cup campaign so far but he would have to be at his best to stop United Sikkim’s Nigerian striker Adelaja, who impressed against Mohammedan.
Dempo vs Mohammedan Sporting (19:30)
This is the only fixture on Monday where there is something serious to play for as one of these teams will eventually win this group and progress to the semis. Dempo only need a point but two-time winners Mohammedan Sporting must win as they have an inferior goal difference. Crucially ex-Mohammedan Sporting striker Tolgay Ozbey is not available for Dempo due to an agreement with his former club. The Australian bagged a brace on his debut against United Sikkim and thus will be heavily missed but the Goan club still have enough quality to get the desired result. The onus is on Mohammedan to go all out for the win and sometimes that situation is better as it allows the players to play their natural game. It would be interesting to see how Dempo approach the game but this will surely be a tight and tense affair so it’s a real pity that the match won’t be televised.
Key Battle: Simon Colosimo – Josimar
Australian central defender Colosimo faced second division opponents in the first two games but he will be up against one of the best foreign strikers in this fixture as Josimar has scored 11 goals in the I-League and Federation Cup. This individual duel could decide the outcome of this virtual quarter-final.Published 19 Jan 2014, 21:17 IST