Dempo to face Mahindra in make-or-break clash

Mumbai: Hosts Mahindra United will take on
Dempo in a crucial 19th round match that may well decide the
winner of this season`s I-League, here tomorrow.

The teams occupy the top two positions in the I-League
table tally with the hosts trailing Dempo by two points.

The match at the Cooperage ground in South Mumbai is
important from the point of view of the hosts, who with a
victory here can leapfrog over Dempo, against whom they drew
2-2 in the earlier round, to claim the top spot.

Though Dempo are high on confidence after two consecutive
wins -- against JCT Phagwara 2-1 and Churchill Brothers 4-2 --
they have shown the tendency to lose focus as is evident from
theirs defeats in the preceding two matches against bottom
placed teams -- Salgaocar 2-3 and Viva Kerala 0-1.

Besides, they have suffered four more defeats than
Mahindra, who have lost just one match in their campaign so

Mahindra`s only blip has been against Kolkata club Mohun
Bagan, to whom they lost 1-2 in the 11th round. The statistics, however, could be misleading as
Mahindra`s form has been inconsistent throughout the season.

In their previous four matches they have defeated Chirag
United by a solitary goal, drew against Viva Kerala and East
Bengal -- 1-1 each -- and registered a scratchy 2-1 victory
over Air India.

The hosts so far have accumulated 33 points in 18 games
with the help of eight wins and nine draws, while Dempo have
35 points after as many games with the help of 10 victories
and five draws.