Churchill, JCT in crucial clash tomorrow

Margao, Jan 25 (UNI) A battle royale is on the cards when title aspirants Churchill Brothers lock horns with former champions JCT Mills Phagawara in their 13th round ONGC I Leaue Championship match to be played at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, here tomorrow.

JCT, placed second with 25 points, are two points behind reigning champions Dempo and hold a psychological edge over Churchill Brothers as they had beaten Churchill 3-0 in the first leg on home ground.

Churchill, placed third with 23 points from 12 outings, too would look forward to snatching points tomorrow on a home advantage. It will also be a revenge tie for Churchill who had lost to JCT in the away match at Ludhiana.

Both teams are equally matched in mid-field and attack and both need points. Full points will keep JCT in the hunt for the top place.

JCT coach Sukhwinder Singh said Churchill is a very good side. ''Though we had won against them by 3-0 at Ludhiana, we cannot underestimate them,'' he said adding that playing against Churchill on home ground is always tough. ''We must be very carefull of Churchill's prolific striker Nigerian Odafe Okolie, who is a very dangerous.'' He said medio Gurwinder Singh, who has been booked twice, will have to sit out in the crucial match tomorrow. Another medio Baljit Singh Saini, who is down with fever, is also a doubtful starter.

Churchill coach Karif Benecharifa said the loss aganst Dempo was a setback for his team. ''Tomorrow's tie is very crucial for us as we are in the race for the title. A win is a must for us to move to the second spot and if we fail to snatch points, our chances will diminish.'' The coach said JCT is a good team, disciplined, fit and well organised.

Looking at the performance, Churchill are a much balanced side with enterprising attack of Nigerian Odafe Okolie and Mboyo Iyomi both have shown maturity and dash in every outing.

All eyes will be on Odafe who is the highest goal scorer in the championship so far with 17 goals including three hat-tricks.

He, along with Mboyo Iyomi who has 8 goals in his name, combine well. They will be backed by a fire-scheming midfield trio of OgbaKalu, Raisangui Vashum and Khetaing Paite. They also have a dependable defence and goalkeeper Vinay Singh who has played an important role under the bar.

JCT too boasts of a very good attacking line spearheaded by Eduardo Escobar who has 11 goals in his name. Sunil Chetri and Marcos Pereira also figure in the goal-scoring list, while Renedy Singh and Marcos Pereira provide stability in the middle. The defence too has done creditbly well so far.

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Story first published: Friday, January 25, 2008, 16:40 [IST]
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