I-League: Bharat FC look to inflict further damage on injury ravaged Dempo SC
A buoyant Bharat FC will face Dempo SC in a Hero I-League round 13 encounter at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda-Goa on Friday evening. The match will kick-off at 7.00 pm and will be telecast live. Incidentally, Bharat FC’s first ever clash in the I-League was against Dempo SC in January. On that day, a determined performance from Bharat FC saw them play out a 0-0 draw.
Bharat FC sit at eighth position on the Hero I-League table, having garnered nine points from their eight matches. Dempo SC are a rung below the Lions, with eight points from nine games. Bharat FC have a game in hand and will be fancying their chances against Dempo SC, a side in transition and one battling numerous injuries.
Dempo SC have appointed former East Bengal FC head coach, Trevor Morgan, after Arthur Papas and the club parted ways at the end of February. Dempo SC have not had the best of runs this season, having won just one match, against bottom-placed side Sporting Clube de Goa. The Goans were humbled 2-0 last Sunday against Mohun Bagan AC in Kolkata. The match against Bharat FC will be Morgan’s first home game in charge of his new side. Dempo SC will be without Haroon Amiri, who is away on national duty for Afghanistan. Calum Angus and TolgayOzbey will miss the game due to injury.
Bharat FC for their part dug deep against a pacy Royal Wahingdoh FC side in Shillong last Saturday. Trailing by a goal till the 85th minute of the game, a wonderfully placed Kris Bright header was enough to restore parity and give the Lions one point from what was seen as a difficult assignment in testing conditions in the north-east. The Lions have not done too badly on their travels this season. Having played three away games, Bharat FC has drawn two and lost just once.
Bharat FC’s head coach Stuart Watkiss is confident of his side putting up a sprightly performance at the Nehru stadium on Friday night. “We are a very different side since the time we faced Dempo SC. They were the first ever team we played in the I-League but since then we have gotten stronger, more incisive and organized. I think the lads are up for the challenge and are motivated to record a positive result,” he said.
Bobby Hassell, one of the most integral players for Bharat FC will be missing out this game due to the two yellow cards that he picked up against Royal Wahingdoh FC. Coach Watkiss said that he is likely to persist with G Vignesh in the central of midfield but will be looking at a few new faces to partner Vignesh and RomualdBoco as part of the central midfield trident. Bharat FC have new signingsTapanMaity and K Asif in their match-day squad and both these players can be deployed in central midfield.
Dempo SC will be without Haroon Amiri, who is away on national duty for Afghanistan. Calum Angus and TolgayOzbey will miss the game due to injury.TheGoan side’s marquee player Carlos Hernandez will miss the clash against Bharat FC due to a red card that he picked up in the last game against Mohun Bagan. However, the Costa Rican’s absence will not hinder the Goan team’s aggressive style of play according to their assistant coach Mauricio Afonso. “We have been playing good, direct football right from the start of the season. Yes, Carlos is an important player but we have a lot of players who are eager to prove themselves and that will definitely help us.