Preview: Kingfisher East Bengal vs Churchill Brothers
Defending champions Churchill Brothers visit the Salt Lake stadium in a mid-season I-League encounter to take on Kingfisher East Bengal in bid to move away from the relegation spots.
The Mariano Dias managed side has had a terrible campaign this term, having already lost 7 times as compared to a measly 3 in their title winning season last year.
As for Armando Colaco’s side, who finished last season’s campaign in third place, just eight points off their opponents of Tuesday, have also had a disappointing campaign, currently lying in 8th place, a huge 12 points behind table toppers Bengaluru FC.
Talking about tomorrow’s highly anticipated fixture between two of biggest sides in Indian football, hosts East Bengal, whose last game was a 2-0 victory in the Federation Cup against newbies Bengaluru FC, will rely on James Moga and Edeh Chidi to provide the firepower upfront along with Lalrindika Ralte controlling the game from the centre of the park for Colaco’s side.
Cavin Lobo is also a regular fixture in the side, alongside Raju Gaikwad, Uga Okpara and Arnab Mondal, who have been just about decent in defense.
Churchill Brothers, on the other hand, are on a good run of form and are on a winning streak for the last 7 games in both the Federation Cup and the I-League. They gave themselves a huge lift by beating fellow relegation candidates Rangdajied United 1-0 with Lalit Thapa keeping the Goan side in the lead by making a string of excellent saves.
The Nepalese international will hope to carry his form further with his side needing his contributions at the back more than ever to maintain their top flight status.
Mariano Dias will also be hoping for Balwant Singh, who has scored 6 times in 12 league games this season, to continue his goal scoring form. Scoring goals has been a real problem for this side, which probably is a major reason for their current league position. They have scored just 13 goals in 14 league games, with no consistent source of goals apart from Balwant Singh.
Anthony Wolfe, who was a surprise selection in the Trinidad & Tobago squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, could be an important addition to the squad, with his versatility bringing some much needed variation to this Churchill side.
Having scored on his debut in their last outing against Rangdajied, which crucially gave them all points in the relegation six-pointer, Wolfe’s confidence is also on the up, and could definitely be an outlet for further goals by the end of the campaign.
From midfield, Lenny Rodrigues has been a constant presence to support Churchill’s game alongside Egyptian Abdelhamid Shabana, who has been in good form recently.
All in all, both teams are having a season to forget, only if a win against their traditional rivals could up their confidence for the run in.