Vasco Da Gama (Goa) [India], January 30 (ANI): It is hard to believe that Churchill Brothers are currently eighth on the I-League table because they are one of only four teams this season who have scored 20 or more goals. Only second-placed Sreenidi Deccan and third-placed TRAU have scored more than the Goa side. They still find themselves low on the table because of inexplicable inconsistency.
That is why even Monday's match here at Tilak Maidan against bottom-placed Sudeva Delhi FC will not let coach Fernando Santiago Varela rest easy.
Sudeva is winless even after 11 matches and the best they can do hereon is hurt the other teams by snatching away some points and avoiding relegation. Towards the business end of any league, such teams are dangerous. Coach Sankarlal Chakraborty would hope to capitalise on the inconsistency of Varela's men, who played a lacklustre draw against Real Kashmir at home in their last match.
Chakraborty acknowledged the difficulty at hand. "Churchill has always been a very tough side at home, even during my own playing days, " he said as quoted by an I-League press release.
"And this year they have bought many good players, particularly some foreigners during the mid-season transfer window. On the other hand, we are struggling," he added.
The difference between Churchill's performance in their last two matches could not have been starker. Only a week before, they looked like a well-oiled machine, handing Rajasthan United a 5-0 pounding away from home. From Emmanuel Yaghr and Abdoulaye Sane up front to Ponif Vaz at the back - everyone looked at the top of their powers. But at home against the Snow Leopards, the same personnel turned wasteful, at times directionless.
Scoring a lot in one match and failing to score in the next has been a recurring theme in Churchill's campaign this season. They were held goalless by current table-toppers RoundGlass Punjab on December 16. Then the Red Machines won 6-1 against TRAU to finish 2022. But the New Year began with a 0-1 defeat to Gokulam Kerala, followed by a goalless draw versus NEROCA. With away matches against strong teams like Sreenidi Deccan and Mohammedan Sporting coming up, Churchill cannot afford a slip-up against Sudeva on the morrow. Reason Varela took a cautious approach while talking about Sudeva Delhi in the pre-match conference.
"They have become a better team since the arrival of new coach Sankarlal Chakraborty. They are good at counter-attack," he said.
The Churchill coach maintained his team dominated in the last game and will have to repeat that performance in order to get full points from Sudeva. "We have to play with the same mentality and intensity tomorrow but try to be better in our finishing," Varela remarked.
However, Churchill will be hampered by the absence of midfielder Richard Costa and striker Lalkhawpuimawia, who got injured during training.
The match will be telecast live on Eurosport, DD Sports and Discovery Plus OTT platform from 7 pm. (ANI)