GOA: A rejuvenated Churchill Brothers would look to continue their momentum in terms of results as they host Shillong Lajong in their I-League encounter at the Tilak Maidan, Vasco on Friday (January 19, 2018).
The Red Machines look a different side compared to the one that had slumped to five straight defeats at the start of the season.
The addition of new players to the squad has breathed new life into their season which is evident in the results.
“The confidence is very high and the boys are giving their best. With the addition of three quality players in the squad, the team spirit is high and hopefully we can come away with all three points”, Churchill Brothers coach Alfred Fernandes said on the eve of the match.
The team can take many positives from their last two performances. A draw against mighty East Bengal and a win against Gokulam FC has kick-started their campaign.
The performances of Koffi Mechac and Kalu Ogba in recent games have not gone unnoticed. They have also added three new players in the form of Alder Hussein, Bektur Talgat and a player from Zambia.
“In three home matches, taking nine points will lead us into mid-table and we can even challenge the best. We are hopeful now because of the strength of the squad with some addition of quality players. I am very confident about our home matches now,” Alfred suggested.
Meanwhile, Shillong Lajong sit comfortably in the fifth place in the table tied on 14 points with fourth place Aizawl FC.
But they have played 10 games compared to Aizawl’s eight and they are one of the teams who have played most number of games so far.
And a closer look would show that their mid-table comfort is under serious threat with Mohun Bagan breathing down their neck.
In fact, Churchill Brothers have played only seven games and if they win their three games in hand, they will be just one point behind Lajong after 10 games played for both sides.
On the other hand, a win for Lajong would help them keep pace with the leading pack while a defeat could peg them back and allow teams below them to get closer to them.
“At the moment it is too early to predict anything. We go step by step. Every game, we always go for a win. We always try to keep in the top four,” Lajong coach Alison Kharsyntiew opined.
When the two teams met earlier in the league, the North-eastern side came out on top with a 2-0 win.
But interestingly, the statistics of the last five matches for both teams are identical – albeit in a different sequence. One win, one draw and three losses.
“They have Kalu who is a good player. And maybe they have improved with the players that have come in. For tomorrow, my team and players are ready to perform,” Kharsyntiew said.
“This will be a different game from the one in Shillong,” Kharsyntiew concluded.
The match is scheduled at 05:30 PM and it’ll be aired live on Star Sports 2/2 HD and streamed live on Hotstar, Jio TV.