PANCHKULA: Now that the competition for the Hero I-League title has become a two-horse race, RoundGlass Punjab cannot afford to drop points in the last three matches. The way they demolished Sudeva Delhi FC the other day, showed Staikos Vergetis’s side can up the ante when it is imperative. They turned the pressure of grabbing the top spot from Sreenidi Deccan into an opportunity and did the job clinically. An eight-goal victory would have been scary for the next opponents at any stage of any league, and coming at a point when winning every match is necessary, it is even more intimidating. Churchill Brothers, the team RoundGlass play here at Tau Devi Lal Stadium on Wednesday, would definitely be wary of that.
Perhaps that is why Churchill coach Mateus Costa intelligently said in the pre-match press conference on Tuesday, “We’ll just focus on ourselves and not on RoundGlass. They are obviously a very good team. We’ll try to go out there and enjoy ourselves. We are here to put up a good fight.”
The Red Machines have gone through a lot of ups and downs in the ongoing edition of the Hero I-League and currently placed fourth with 29 points from 19 outings. The inconsistency has been evident even in the last five matches, of which they have won only two. In terms of scoring goals, they are third (31) after Sreenidi and RoundGlass. Mateus Costa’s boys have scored not one, not two, but ten goals more than third-placed Gokulam Kerala. Therefore, it is easy to understand that defence is Churchill’s weak point. That can be deadly while facing a side like RoundGlass, who have players like Luka Majcen, Juan Mera, Chencho Gyeltshen, Juan Carlos Nellar or Maheson Singh.
Churchill can draw heart from the fact that they had held this team to a goalless draw when they met at Tilak Maidan in Vasco da Gama. But obviously, this is a hungrier RoundGlass, who can smell the trophy. So Momo Cisse, Ponif Vaz et al have their work cut out. Churchill’s own forwards have been sublime on odd days and listless on even days. Vergetis will hope it is not the former for Abdoulaye Sane, Bayi Kamo or Emmanuel Yaghr on the morrow.
Vergetis, as is his wont, underplayed his team’s devastating form. “Of course I’m happy that the players combined so well in the last match and scored so many goals, but the most important thing to come out of that match were the three points. Even tomorrow, that will be the most important thing. Churchill have a lot of quality. We’ll have to remain focused. It won’t be easy to beat them. We can’t afford to relax,” he said.
The match will be telecast live on Eurosport, DD Sports and Discovery Plus OTT platform from 7pm.