Margao: Its a `Do or Die` battle for HAL as they take on Dempo on Wednesday in the concluding match of the I-League at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda here.
With Salgaocar winning the Championship after beating JCT (2-0) to take their points tally to unbeatable 56 points, Dempo have now no option but to beat HAL and finish second behind Salgaocar with 53 points.
Even if Churchill Brothers win against Pune FC on Tuesday they will finish with 53 points but have inferior head-to-head result against Dempo which will place them to third place if Dempo win against HAL.
With the curtain coming down after Wednesday’s match, the sword of relegation is hanging large on four teams Air India, JCT, ONGC and HAL.
HAL who are at the bottom with 21 points, Wednesday’s result is important as a win will help them to save relegation as they will finish with 24 points, the same as Air-India, ONGC and JCT respectively.
But the latest I-League regulations mean that head-to-head results between the teams who are tied is given importance rather than the goal difference.
Air-India and HAL who have better head-to-head results will survive and ONGC and JCT will be relegated. If HAL loses then ONGC and HAL will be relegated.
HAL coach Thyagarajan knows that they have no choice but to win against Dempo whose spirit is high after creating history to become the first team to win by highest number of goals in the I-League when they mauled Air India 14-0.
"We have to remain focus and play to our potential as Dempo will come hard on us as they need victory to finish second," stated Thyagarajan.
Dempo`s coach Armando Colaco is proud of his boys after winning 14-0 against Air India which brought them close to winning the title who hoped that Salgaocar lose against JCT but that did not happen as Salgaocar beat JCT 2-0 on Monday to lift the title.
Now we have no option but to win the upcoming match and finish on high note behind Salgaocar, stated Colaco.