Close contest likely as Sporting prepare to meet Churchill

Margao: A close contest is on the cards as Sporting Clube de Goa gets ready to take on Churchill Brothers in a 21st round I-League match at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, on Sunday. Sporting had lost their last game but were unbeaten in the previous seven matches, rising to eighth position with 30 points from 20 matches.

Now that they are out of the relegation zone, they are expected to play with more freedom while aiming for a top- five finish. Technical director Alex Alvares said the break has helped the team to remain injury-free.

"Our aim is to win as many matches and finish among the top five. We have six matches to play and its important that we win them if we are to achieve our goal. We have tough games against teams like Churchill Bros, East Bengal and Dempo, wins against them will help us improve our standing," he said.

Churchill Brothers looked a real force to challenge Dempo for the title when they ended the latter`s winning streak mid-way through the season, eventually going on to take the pole position under Manuel Gomes. However, they went into a lean patch thereafter and slumped to fifth position with 34 points from 19 matches before the break, which saw the Portuguese coach`s exit.

Now under the new leadership of technical director Subhas Bhowmick and coach Carlos Parreira, the team is looking forward and challenge Dempo for the title, who are nine points clear of them.