Dempo a draw away from winning the I-League
Margao: A draw is just enough for Dempo to bag the I-League football title for the record fifth time when they face East Bengal in a key clash of the tournament at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Friday.
With two matches remaining, Dempo just need a point to pocket the I-League for a record fifth time. And despite knowing they are on the brink, Dempo coach Armando Colaco remains confident that his team can get the desired result.
Dempo stay at the top of the table with 53 points from 24 matches while East Bengal are on 44 points from 23 matches.
Armando remains keen to wrap up the title in front of the home crowd itself.
"Leaving it for the last match will be dangerous. I am sure that we can get a positive result against East Bengal and the boys understand the importance of the challenge," said the former India Coach.
Dempo have been in blazing form in the last two matches at Fatorda as they won recorded convincing wins against Churchill Brothers (4-2) and then Sporting Clube de Goa (4-1).
"We have experienced players who know what to do. I do not need to remind them," Armando reiterated.
Armando is expected to field the same squad which demolished Sporting Clube although there was renewed hope that defender Mahesh Gawli could return from injury.
"I don`t find myself under any pressure. There is nothing to lose for us against East Bengal. The pressure in fact is on East Bengal as it is a must win match for them and they are playing away from home," added the Dempo Coach.
East Bengal have been going about their business in a quiet manner and coach Trevor Morgan remains confident that his team can upset the odds and get a favourable result. East Bengal have won just once in 11 attempts against Dempo in the I-League at Fatorda.
However, Morgan rubbished Armando`s claim that East Bengal are under pressure.
"The I-League title is for Dempo to lose. The pressure is not on us, it`s on them," Morgan commented.
"We are going into this match knowing that we need a win and nothing else. I am aware that even if we win this match, we may still not be Champions. But in the last stages, nothing can be predictable," Morgan explained.
East Bengal will be missing Nigerian defender Uga Okpara and India U-23 captain Raju Gaikwad will be replacing him.
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