I-League: Churchill faces tricky Chennai test at home

Churchill Brothers and Chennai City FC head into the penultimate round of the I-League level on points as the two lock horns at the Tilak Maidan, Vasco on Saturday.

Both Chennai City FC and Churchill Brothers have one eye on qualification for the Federation Cup.   -  M. Vedhan

Churchill Brothers and Chennai City FC head into the penultimate round of the I-League level on points as the two lock horns at the Tilak Maidan, Vasco on Saturday.

Chennai City has been unbeaten in its last five league encounters but will face a tough task taking on Churchill Brothers on its own home turf, avers the visiting coach V. Soundararajan.

“Churchill have managed three big victories at their home and we should be very careful about them. Anyway, we would settle for a draw but we don’t want to lose the match. We will go all out and since both are on same points, we want to take points out of this game. If we win, then we will qualify for the Federation Cup,” said Soundararajan at the pre-match press briefing.

If qualification for Federation Cup was not enough motivation, the prospect of playing in Goa which has a special place in Indian football is something the visiting side is looking forward to.

“Playing in Goa and against such a historic club like Churchill Brothers is the greatest opportunity for the club and it is great for the players especially we have a lot of young players. It will be a great moment for them,” the former Andhra Pradesh coach explained.

As far as Churchill Brothers is concerned, the Derrick Pereira-led side would look to bounce back from its 3-1 defeat at home against league leader Aizawl FC.

“We had a bad match last time against Aizawl but we have worked on it and the players who missed that match are back and we will give our best and hopefully get three points,” coach Derrick Pereira said.

Squad updates

Crucially for Churchill Brothers, defensive mainstay Rowilson Rodrigues, who missed the crucial tie against Aizawl, is expected to play on Saturday as Derrick has a fully fit squad to choose from.

As far as Chennai City is concerned, it will miss the services of a few players most notably Denson Devadas, Nanda Kumar and K. Prasanth.

Besides Mohun Bagan and Aizawl, all other teams have turned their attention to qualification for the Federation Cup even as both managers have one eye on finishing high in the table in order to feature in the tournament.

“Absolutely we are looking at Fed Cup. But we have two matches remaining and we want to focus on that before talking about the Fed Cup,” coach Derrick concluded.

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