Salgaocar face Churchill test

An exciting contest is on the cards when Churchill Bros take on arch rivals Salgaocar FC in an fifth round  match of I-League at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda on Friday  at 5.30 p.m.

The match assumes great importance for both clubs who need full points to climb towards the top. Churchill have nine points from four matches, standing second overall and Salgaocar five from the same number of encounters to stay at ninth position. Coach Mariano Dias and his Salgaocar counterpart David Booth admitted that Saturday’s clash was a big one for them.

Hoping to maintain their position, Churchill will surely adopt a positive attacking approach. “Salgaocar are a good side. We know each other’s game and it’s going to be a very difficult match for us,” Dias told Herald on the eve of the match and added: “We are prepared and ready for them. The players are eager to put up a fine performance, they are all motivated to put on a good show.”

Mariano has no injury worries. Lebanon’s Bilal Nanjarine and Ravanan Dharmaraj will man the heart of the Churchill defense along with Denzil Franco and Raju Yumanum.  Steven Dias, Tomba Singh, Lenny Rodrigues and Bikrmajit Singh will make up the  waist lime. Akram Moghrabi will spearhead the attack along with Brazilian Roberto Mendes da Silva. Sandip Nandi will be under the bar.

Salgaocar Technical Director Peter Valles echoed Mariano’s views. “Tomorrow’s match is very important for us,” Peter stated after a practice session at BITS Pilani ground, Vasco.

Salgaocar have a new coach, David Booth, at the helm of affairs for the past three days, and Peter has no doubt that the team is now on the right track. “We won our last match against Mumbai FC and that is a positive sign. The players too are responding well to the new coach,” said Valles.

“The victory against Mumbai FC was Salgaocar’s first in four matches. Coach Booth was sitting in the stands. On Friday, Booth will sit on the technical bench of Salgaocar for the first time,” explained Valles.

“Booth is an experienced coach and knows how to handle the team. I can tell for sure that the players are responding well to his coaching methods and I am sure that we will continue with our winning ways,” said the technical director.

Brazilian Luciano Sarbosa will have a big role to play at the back. Karanajit Singh will stand under the bar. Valles is confident that his strikers Sean Roney or Gurido will provide the necessary punch in the attack. He also believes that the midfielders will dominate to put the rivals under pressure.

With both coaches readying for battle, the clash  promises plenty of fireworks.

POINTS (after four rounds) : Dempo 10, Churchill Bros 9, Pailan Arrows 8, East Bengal 8, Prayag United 7, Shillong Lajong 7, Pune FC  6, Mohun Bagan 6, Salgaocar 5, United Sikkim 4, Sporting Clube de Goa  4, Air India  3, ONGC 1, Mumbai FC 0. [H]