Salgaocar FC look to return to winning ways; take on I-League debutants Bharat FC
Pune: Salgaocar FC will look to return to winning ways when they take on debutants Kalyani Bharat FC in a Round 7 clash of the Hero I-League at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune tomorrow. With two wins, two draws, and two defeats, the Greens have had a mixed bag of results thus far, but yet sit only five points adrift of league leaders Royal Wahingdoh, a fair indication of the competitiveness of this year’s edition.
Salgaocar got their campaign off to a relatively slow start having scored just two points from the first three outings, but wins against Sporting Clube de Goa and Kingfisher East Bengal catapulted them to the top four in the table.
Despite the reverse in the last encounter against Mumbai FC, coach Derrick Pereira sounded confident ahead of the game against the I-League newbies. “We have put the match against Mumbai FC behind us and are looking forward to the clash against Bharat FC,” the gaffer remarked. “We have got better with every passing game and I do believe we have done fairly well to accumulate the points we have with key players missing through injury during the initial rounds,” he added.
Derrick was of course referring to the absence of Scottish striker Darryl Duffy who returned against East Bengal to make a telling contribution. Saran Singh, the other key man in Derrick’s scheme of things however, continues to be sidelined through an abdominal strain but should recover in time for the Greens’ next fixture against Shillong Lajong to be played in Goa on March 3.
Salgaocar fans will be delighted though with the news of keeper Karanjit Singh returning to full fitness after a prolonged lay-off due to injury. The shot stopper suffered a muscle tear in training ahead of the Federation Cup and has been out of action since. His team mate in the Indian National side, Subrata Paul, who was signed by the Greens as cover, has been outstanding in goal and already won a couple of ‘Man of the Match’ awards in the 11 games he has played for the club thus far.
Bharat FC, on the other hand, have managed just two points from their opening four encounters, including a 1-1 draw away to East Bengal in their last outing. It should be a compelling contest as both sides look for three points to ensure they stay in the hunt for the top four positions, albeit these are still fairly early stages in the league.