Churchill Brothers will be hoping to dislodge perennial heavy-weights East Bengal on their home turf and open up the league table. . .
The Kolkata giants have endured a tough patch recently, struck with injuries which almost seemed to have halted their title hunt in the recent times. However, the Reds-and-Golds is back with their usual self, after winning their last league match against Shillong Lajong FC in an away match, shattering their barren record in the Meghalaya capital for four years. As the conclusion of this year’s league comes closer, East Bengal will now face Goanese side Churchill Brothers, whom they had defeated in the opening fixture of this year’s I-League.
The Kolkata-based club is currently at the top spot of the league standings, followed closely by Aizawl FC and arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in the second and third places respectively. Considering their recent history with the league ending phase, East Bengal will be desperate to clinch three points against the Goanese team to keep their title dreams alive.
Churchill Brothers had a not-so-glorious start in this season’s I-League under head coach Alfred Fernandes. However, as the poor run continued, the Goanese side underwent a managerial change, replacing Fernandes with Derrick Pereira. Since the arrival of their new coach, Churchill has defeated league giants Mohun Bagan in their last match day and has also defeated DSK Shivajians which makes them a side to reckon with in the recent times.
Churchill Brothers are now positioned at the sixth place on the I-League table with 12 points and are expected to fight for no less than three points against East Bengal on Tuesday.
East Bengal will be without the services of marquee No. 10 Wedson Anselme who is out with an injury. The Red and Gold Brigade marksman Willis Plaza is another player to be doubtful against Churchill Brothers on Tuesday. However, the absence of any suspension amongst the East Bengal squad bears a good news for coach Trevor Morgan, enabling him to deploy his team as per his plans.
Churchill Brothers are without any injury as well as any suspension against the hosts which come as delightful news for coach Derrick Pereira.
These two teams have faced each other 24 times in all competitions till date, out of which Churchill Brothers holds an edge over East Bengal with 11 wins compared to East Bengal’s eight against them. The remaining five matches were drawn between the two teams.
Trevor Morgan (East Bengal FC)
“Churchill will be a tough fixture and we have to be at our best to win the tie. We’ve managed to get two wins from two away games, we’ve got a home game coming up now which we need to win. We have one more game then we have the break. The break will give everybody the chance to give the players some time off. Everyone gets the chance to recharge their batteries but we have to keep ourselves in the mix so when we come back with a few games to go, we’re ready.”
Derrick Pereira (Churchill Brothers)
“It’s a very good win for us. The players worked very hard to get these three points. There were a few moments where we lost focus in defense when we conceded the goal. Sony Norde was left free and we conceded from that. We’ll play to win each and every match. We have to go with that positive attitude and this result will definitely help us in the future matches.”
Man to watch
Chris Payne (East Bengal)
The Australian striker was roped in by the Kolkata-based club last month. The 26-year-old striker has previous experience of playing against some of the world’s best footballers such as Carlos Tevez whom he had faced while playing for his former team Sydney United FC. A master of trickery, Payne has been handful distributing pinpoint passes which have resulted in two crucial goals for East Bengal in their last match against Shillong Lajong FC.
The Australian footballer is also regarded for his sudden bursts of pace in the opposition final third and considering the form of the Churchill defence this season, East Bengal’s foreign player is expected to cause a lot of trouble against the Goanese side on Tuesday.
Denzil Franco (Churchill Brothers S.C.)
A SESA Football Academy graduate, Franco has previously played in other Indian clubs such as Sporting Clube De Goa, Salgaocar and Mahindra United. The full-back has won several trophies as Federation Cup, Durand Cup, IFA Shield and most importantly the I-League itself. With a comparatively young defence at Churchill’s disposal, the 30-year-old veteran defender can be the silver lining for the Churchill defence considering East Bengal’s attacking prowess in this season.
East Bengal (4-2-3-1)
Rehenesh, Bheke, Gurwinder, Bukenya, Robert, Mehtab, Borges, Ralte, Rafique, Poojary, Payne.
Churchill Brothers (4-5-1)
Naveen (GK), Kromah, Rodrigues, Almeida, Franco, Seriton, Wolfe, Brandon, Bektur, Chesterpaul, Costa.
The match will be televised live on Ten 2 from 04:30 PM. You can also follow the live commentary on www.khelnow.com