Churchill Brothers return to their base against Gokulam Kerala on Sunday, bidding to keep the pressure on the I-League leaders. Churchill Brothers are currently placed fourth in the table with 20 points from 14 games.
They still have six games to play and if all goes well can muster a total of 38 points. Gokulam Kerala are placed seventh with 19 points from 14 games and in order to end up among the top five, they will have to win at least four of their five encounters.
Churchill Brothers are coming on the back of a shock defeat at the hands of Trau FC 1-0 which severely dented their prospects of being crowned league champions for the third time.
Churchill Brothers head coach Bernardo Tavares said, “Yes, the loss against Trau was a little unnerving but I believe we are only to blame for it. We weren’t able to create enough goal scoring chances when we should have. Trau was disciplined and pretty hard to breakdown on the night.”
He added: “If we dwell too deep into the equation we will not able to concentrate on the match and I believe we should just have one goal that is to win all the remaining matches and hope that the rest of the events turn out to be in our favour.”
Gokulam Kerala, on the other hand, are coming on the back of a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Quess East Bengal. The result though doesn’t give a clear picture of the loss that Gokulam Kerala faced. The Malabarians will be missing the services of Haroon Amiri and Naocha Singh who were sent off in the match after receiving two yellow cards respectively.
Captain Marcus Joseph, who happens to be the highest scorer from the Kerala outfit, said, “It has been a difficult season for us. When the league started we were in tremendous form but some close matches have really cost us. We are missing two of our mainstays in the defence line up in against Churchill and it always unsettles a settled line-up.
TRAU poised for tricky clash
TRAU FC will look to stay clear of the relegation zone with a win over a rejuvenated Indian Arrows. Buoyed by their recent win against Churchill Brothers, TRAU will be hoping to beat the Indian Arrows which will give them some breathing space in their quest for survival in I-League.
The debutants from Imphal are four points clear of Neroca (10th place) but have played a game more than their city-rivals and have a tough run ahead, starting with an away trip to Srinagar next.
After the Real Kashmir test, TRAU will be taking on Gokulam Kerala back at home before travelling north again to face Punjab FC in Ludhiana. TRAU skipper Princewill Emeka said that his team did not have any fear of slipping down to the relegation zone.
“We consider every opponent to be equally tough. There are not many games left, so we have to ensure that we collect as many points as we can,” he said.
“The Arrows are always a threat. They will pounce on any mistake you make. They keep running until the last minute of the game, so we have to be alert. We won the reverse fixture against them 2-0 and it was not easy at all.”
On the other dugout, the visitors will be bolstered by the inputs of India senior national team head coach Igor Stimac who conducted one of the Arrows’ training sessions in Mumbai.
Indian Arrows head coach Venkatesh Shanmugam, also the assistant coach of the senior national team said, “The boys were taken aback by the pleasant surprise.”