I-League: Neroca hosts second-placed Churchill in exciting clash

The game promises to be an exciting one as the Goan giant finds itself in the second position after seven games with 13 points.

Churchill Brothers in this season has remained unbeaten with three wins and having scored 14 goals.   -  Nissar Ahmad

Churchill Brothers FC is again in title contention when it takes on Manipur side Neroca FC in the I-League here on Saturday.

The game promises to be an exciting one as the Goan giant finds itself in the second position after seven games with 13 points while Neroca is in fourth with 11 after playing the same number of matches.

Churchill has had the better campaign definitely having remained unbeaten with three wins and having scored 14 goals thus far. The home side, on the other hand, has won the same number of games but been beaten twice in close encounters. It has also scored just nine and conceded six, the same as its next visitors.

Churchill’s Willis Deon Plaza has stood apart with seven strikes so far including a hat-trick and many of his finishes have been top drawer. Gambian Dawda Cessay and winger Israil Gurung have also performed outstandingly for the Goans and when on song the side looks unbeatable.

Its Romanian coach Petra Gigiu has also handled his resources admirably and needs to be commended for getting the best out of resources which were available to Indian football for many seasons.

Speaking before the game, Gigiu was his usual light-hearted confident self.

“I want to win all games, not only against Neroca. Neroca is playing good football, especially the Indian players. Their goalkeeper and their striker Subhash are really good. It will be a difficult game for us.”

He also ruled out top defender Hussein Eldor of Libya and scorer in the previous game Anthony Wolfe of Trinidad for Saturday’s game due to injuries. He brushed aside talk of the second position in the table saying it can change in two days and playing good football was his priority.

The home team has been bolstered in the last two games with the return of Japanese winger Katsumi Yusa post injury.

Neroca has won three of the last four, losing to league leaders Chennai in the other game. But could prove to be a handful at home under its Spanish coach Manuel Fraile who is also beginning to settle down.

One of his key moves has been getting Subhash Singh back into the picture over the last two games.

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