Guwahati: Former champions Manipur will have their task cut-out when they take on Services in the first semifinal of the 65th Santosh Trophy national football championship.
Manipur have been impressive so far and emerged as group A winners in the quarterfinals ahead of defending champions West Bengal.
Services on the other hand rode their luck to pip Goa and Punjab on better goal difference to qualify for the semis after all three teams finished on two points each.
"They have been lucky no doubt. But it`s not in our hands. We will play to our strengths and hope lady luck smiles on us," Manipur coach S. Ekendra Singh quipped.
Ekendra is aware of the challenge but stressed the pressure shouldn`t get to his boys at the Nehru Stadium.
"We are prepared for the match and will put our best foot forward," Ekendra said.
While Services undoubtedly have been lucky, what could work in Manipur`s favour is the form of Nilakumar Singh, Tiken Singh, Thoiba Singh and Nabachandra Singh, and they would again be banking on the in-form foursome, to see the team through to the final.
Asked about their opponents, Ekendra said, "Services are a fit side who are capable of beating anyone on their day. We need to execute our plans on the field."
Meanwhile, there has been a slight change in the fixture of the I-League match between Churchill Brothers and Pune FC.
Instead of May 30, the match will be played on May 31.