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Churchill, Sporting Club de Goa lock horns tomorrow

Margao, Feb 15 (UNI) Churchill Brothers, looking for its maiden title, will go all out to snatch full points when they lock horns against another strong local team Sporting Club de Goa in their penultimate round of the ONGC I League championship match to be played at the Nehru stadium Fatorda tomorrow.

With only two rounds to go, the championship has become exciting and Churchill Brothers are tied with defending champions Dempo at 32 points each. But, Dempo tops the table on better goal difference of 19 as compared to Churchill's 15.

Former champions JCT with 29 points are also in the race with an outside chance to have a crack at the title.

Churchill coach Karim Bencherifa said, ''We do not know who is going to be the champions. We need to win both the matches against Sporting Club de Goa tomorrow and Air India on February 23 with much bigger margins to catch up with Dempo on goal difference.'' The coach, however, said if Dempo win their next two matches against Salgaocar on February 17 and Viva Kerala in the last round match on February 23, they will definitely stand a better chance of winning the title.

He said, though his team is well balanced on paper and performance, they cannot afford to be complacent as Sporting Club de Goa is known for its steady approach. ''We cannot underestimate them though we beat them 3-0 in the first leg. Sporting is a good team.'' The coach said his boys know that both the matches are crucial for us ''as we are in the race for the title. Our morale is high as we have beaten East Bengal in the last away match''.

Churchill will be on full strength with captain Odafe Okolie and Mboyo Iyomi spearheading the attack. The Nigerian, Okolie, with 19 goals in his name including three hat-tricks, is the highest goal scorer in the championship so far. Mboyo has 12 goals to his credit.

Helping the duo will be Khemtang Paite, Reisangmei Vasum and Genius Zenith in the middle. Defenders Naoba singh, D Raju, Rowilson Rodrigues and goalkeeper Vinay Singh have also played important roles in the earlier matches. Defender L Roberto and Jaison Vales, who were booked twice, will not be playing against Sporting tomorrow, the coach added.

Sporting Club de Goa, placed 7th on the league table with 17 points, will have to pull up their socks to improve their points tally and will depend heavily on Nigerian Junior Elijah, Adjei Lawrence and Danzil Franco to deliver the goods. Elijah has six goals in his name so far.


Story first published: Friday, February 15, 2008, 16:09 [IST]
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