Holders Churchill Brothers looking to survive relegation

Fatorda (Goa), April 18: Defending champions Churchill Brothers will be looking to seal their place in next season’s I-League football with a victory against United Sports Club here Saturday, and not leave it for their concluding clash.

Churchill Brothers are just above the relegation zone with 22 points and need another three points from their remaining two matches to be sure of another year in top-flight football.

However, coach Mariano Dias does not want to take the relegation battle in the concluding game which will be against Salgaocar Football Club, April 28.

“The boys played well against East Bengal and that victory has given us confidence. A confidence which we must take into the United SC match and try to get all three points from the fixture, and ensure that we move out of the relegation battle,” said Dias.

Even if they lose both their matches, Churchill Brothers can still survive in the I-League if Mohammedan Sporting, the bottom-placed team in the league, lose their concluding league clash against Mumbai FC April 27. But that will be like leaving too much to chance.

Judging from the way Churchill defeated East Bengal, who were chasing the title, Dias will be confident that his team can grab another massive victory.

“The points are there to be grabbed. We must finish the job on hand,” said the coach.

Churchill will miss the services of defender Satish Singh. His place is likely to be taken up by Denzil Franco.

United SC are relatively safe but if they lose both their remaining matches and Mohammedan too notch a victory, they will be relegated. That will be tough on United SC, who have faced several odds all through the season.

United can take heart from their performance in the last game against Mohun Bagan, who they held to a goalless draw. The visitors will also be pleased with their home win against Churchill Brothers. They won 3-2.

United are placed 11th on the table with 23 points from 22 matches. Churchill (22 points) and Mohammedan Sporting (21 points) follow.

IANS