I League: Churchill Brothers faces uphill task against Punjab FC in search for third title

As the I-League title race goes down to the wire, three teams -- Gokulam Kerala, Churchill Brothers and TRAU -- are in contention after 14 rounds.

Churchill Brothers is third on the points table.   -  AIFF MEDIA

Churchill Brothers will need more than a victory against Punjab FC to clinch the I-League title in its last match of the season at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Saturday.

As the I-League title race goes down to the wire, three teams -- Gokulam Kerala, Churchill Brothers and TRAU -- are in contention after 14 rounds.

All three teams have 26 points each and if they end with the same tally of points, the head-to-head results will decide the title winner.

At one stage, it seemed like two-time champions Churchill Brothers was running away with the title. However, inconsistent performances in the championship stage have pegged it back.

The Red Machines not only need a victory but are dependent on the result of the Gokulam Kerala vs TRAU match to be played simultaneously at another venue.

Churchill is at a disadvantage against Gokulam on head-to-head results and it trails TRAU on overall goal difference.

So, the most realistic equation for Churchill lifting the trophy is to beat Punjab and pray that the other game between Gokulam and TRAU ends in a draw.

"We are conscious of what we need to do to win the I-League. Our goal is to beat Punjab. We will hope for a draw in the other fixture," Churchill head coach Fernando Varela said.

"Regardless of what happens tomorrow, I believe it is a good season. For me, we are the best team in the league. We have played well, grown together as a team, played attacking football. I am really proud of the team. We have shown that we are a great team."

Punjab is not in contention for the title but it has its own ambition to finish the season on a high by beating the Red Machines.

“We are looking to finish the season well by defeating Churchill," Punjab FC head coach Curtis Fleming said.

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