Dempo take on AI in crucial I-League clash
Margao: Dempo who needs to win their last two matches with a huge margin to keep alive their hopes to retain the I-League title, will meet Air India on Monday at Nehru Stadium here.
Dempo`s loss to Pune FC has strengthened Salgaocar`s chance to lift the title as they need only a draw against JCT to finished ahead of tittle contenders, Churchill and Dempo, with 54 points.
With East Bengal out of the race after their draw yesterday against HAL, Churchill Brothers, the 2008-2009 champions currently on 50 points and with a goal difference of two goals against leaders Salgaocar, can end with the same number of points as Karim Bencherifa?s side if they win their last game against Pune FC and Salgaocar lose to JCT.
Still Churchill won`t win the title as they have an inferior head-to-head against Salgaocar.
Dempo who needs to win both their last matches with a huge margin have inferior goal difference of twelve goals against Salgaocar and have no option but to go all out against Air-India who also need a win to stay away from relegation.
The AFC Cup match and three I-League matches to play within five days has really taken a toll on Dempo?s players who are finding difficult to recover from injuries.
With defenders Mahesh Gawli not fully fit and Roullah Sameinia who is reported sick, Dempo`s coach Armando Colaco will have no option but to revert to Kalu Ogba in the central defender position to strengthen the defence.
Striker Ranty Martins who was seen limping during the practice session is also a doubtful starter.
But Coach Armando is optimistic that his boys will give their best to win tomorrow and keep their chances alive to defend the title.
"They rose to the occasion in the past and I am hopeful they will rise to the occasion now as well," stated Colaco.
On the other hand, Air-India`s win against JCT have given them hopes to save relegation and now need to win tomorrow to remain above the other relegation teams JCT(24), ONGC(23) and HAL(21).
Santosh Kashyap boys who have beaten Dempo at home by 4-0 is confident that his team will repeat the same performance they have displayed at home.
The morale of the boys is high after their win against JCT and hopefully looking to do the same tomorrow to stay above the relegation, stated Kashyap.