By the time Churchill Brothers and NEROCA FC take the field at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco on Saturday, January 19 both teams will know whether it is only Chennai City FC ahead of them or even Real Kashmir FC.
Be that as it may, arguably the biggest game of the day, scheduled for a 7.30pm IST start, promises to be one, not for the faint-hearted with two in-form attack-minded teams battling it out with realistic title aspirations foremost in their minds.
Churchill Brothers have been the more impressive of the two sides, however of their two losses so far, one was to their Saturday opponents in the first-leg fixture.
NEROCA, in that game, rode on a Katsumi Yusa brace to stun the high-flying Goans in that instance. Churchill Brothers have regrouped since then and now lie second in the table with a five-point gap separating them from league leaders Chennai City FC.
With the form that their striker Willis Deon Plaza has demonstrated so far with 11 goals, the hosts will be backing themselves to take three points at home.
Churchill Brothers’ Romanian coach Petra Gigiu said in the pre-game presser, “It is a difficult game. NEROCA is a strong stone and they have many good players. They play well and have an organised team. Defence and attack both are good. We will try our best and try and not make the mistakes we have made earlier. The three points are very important for us and we will be playing to win.”
NEROCA go into Saturday’s game on the back of a narrow defeat, their third of the 12th I-League season, in their previous game against Mohun Bagan and will be desperate to get back to winning backs to remain hot contenders for a shot at the title.
Their Spanish coach Manuel Fraile had this to say on match day eve, “We will be fighting for three points but the pressure is on Churchill. Rest we should give our best and win the game. It will be a difficult game tomorrow. We will try to be the Champions. We will stick to our game plan and my team is ready.”
The fluent style of both teams and the quality in attack with the likes of Singham Subash Singh, Felix Chidi for NEROCA and Dawda Cessay, Anthony Wolfe for Churchill Brothers, the game promises to be a cracker under the lights in Goa.