Churchill Brothers FC needs to win, to be in contention of finishing at top or amongst the best, when they host former Champions Chennai City FC in the I-League match at the Nehru stadium in Fatorda today.
A win, will keep them in contention for the title and keeping their winning run on the upswing with Churchill already having won three out of five home games played. Fans come whether a team wins or loses but they love it best with a win and this is what Churchill Brothers need to keep in mind.
Churchill Brothers FC started their I-League campaign with a convincing 3-0 win over Punjab FC, has impressed by defeating the giants from Kolkata – Mohun Bagan and East Bengal – but have fared miserably against lighter known opponents. From among these, their 1-2 defeat against Indian Arrows will haunt them for long.
Former champions Chennai City FC are not in their best elements, languishing in the ninth position and will need to put their best feet forward if they need to make a comeback and will look at this game against Churchill as an opportunity to make their intent clear.
Churchill Brothers has been relying on Willis Plaza to do scoring – he has five goals to his name at the moment and coach Bernado Tavares from Portugal will need to find ways – better late than never – to get the others in the team to start scoring.
Striker Lalkhawpuimawia has been good at scoring and has excelled with the ball in the penalty area and is a weapon that Bernado should optimise. Israel Gurung has been scoring but has been better in his assists, especially in set pieces.
The Goan players in Churchill’s roster have helped in the defense with Jovel Martins and Ponif Vaz holding the flanks together and Richard Costa playing as withdrawn midfielder whenever he has got the opportunity.
Glan Martins has been playing a parallel game with Khalif Alhassan in the midfield and though the latter is not as quick footed as the former, the two have been creating chances but would do better if they got the others involved in trying to score for the team because too much of dependence on one can always end as over dependence.
Glan, according to sources in the team, has been playing despite a minor injury and that could explain his inability to strike at goal from far.
Churchill Brothers are at the moment placed fifth on the points table with 13 points from eight games. The team came of age in the last encounter against Neroca FC as they cruised through to a victory with a comfortable score line of 4-1. The biggest positive for the team is the return of Willis Plaza, whose two assists and one goal from the penalty spot were the highlight of the fixture against Neroca.
Another good news for the team lies in the return of centre-back Abu Bakr, who was sent off during the match against Gokulam Kerala FC.
“Each game is a different story. Against Neroca, our team was very good in offensive terms as we were able to create many goal-scoring opportunities and we even succeeded in scoring four goals. It was a good game and certainly the fans who watched the game liked what they saw,” stated Churchill Brothers FC coach Bernardo during the pre-match interaction with the media.
“In the next game, we will try to continue our good attacking football but we know that the next opponent will do everything to counteract us. They are a team that likes to have possession of the ball and they have players with good technical quality. I foresee a good game and I appeal to our fans to come and support our team at the stadium because it is important for the players to feel your support,” he added.
Chennai City FC has too been on an upward curve in terms of performance. After giving the league leaders Mohun Bagan a scare in Coimbatore, they recorded a comfortable victory over the Indian Arrows. With a win-loss record of 2:3, Chennai are at the moment placed ninth on the points table with 11 points to their name from nine games.
“We need to be cautious of Churchill’s attack and be very focused on our defense as any lapse can prove to be really costly against a team like them,” said Chennai City FC captain Roberto Eslava.
Chennai City FC has the upper hand when it comes to head-to-head. In the five encounters between both teams, Chennai has won three, one has been a draw and only once has Churchill triumphed.