GO HOME PAGE     I-LEAGUE - 2012-13   PREVIEWS (R: 1-6)  ||    (R: 7-13)  ||    (R: 14-19)  ||   (R: 20-26)

R-1


ROUND - 1

Pune FC hope to change opening day script; take on promoted ONGC



07.10.2012: Pune FC aims at a winning start to shrug off past drawn-opening-game results at home when they play ONGC FC in I-League 2012-13, on Monday. Three draws against East Bengal (2009-10), Mohun Bagan (2010-11) and Shillong Lajong FC (2011-12) is a run Pune FC Coach Derrick Pereira is well aware of and eager to change.

Pune FC Coach explained, "We've learnt from the past that we played our openers at home under pressure. But this time we are looking at enjoying the game to get a positive result." In making his point, the Coach, who overlooked a late evening training session at the Balewadi Sports Complex, added, "With the privilege beginning once again in front of our home fans we will go for the kill. We are ready and confident."

While Pune FC is upbeat, the fact remains that Pune FC-ONGC encounters are always tight. Ever since Pune FC earned promotion, ONGC have been their rivals thrice - twice in the I-League and once in the Durand Cup, and only once has the hosts tilted a game in their favour. Both Pune FC and ONGC go into the game overcoming Durand Cup disappointment and bouncing back in the Fed Cup respectively. While two draws put Pune FC out, a draw and a loss ended ONGC in the group stage of the Durand Cup.

However, the Fed Cup was different. Pune FC beat United Sikkim SC, drew with Prayag United and lost to Salgaocar SC, where as ONGC thrashed Kalighat MS, led East Bengal before a red-card dented them with a 1-2 loss, and then got back on track beating Sporting Clube Goa. On the eve of the game, Pune FC Coach was of the opinion that the promoted ONGC, back after a one year absence, cannot be taken lightly.

"ONGC is a good side with some experienced players in their line-up. We played a practice match against them earlier in this season and quite know the team," the coach added. Pune FC had beaten ONGC in a friendly ahead while preparing for the Fed Cup.

The visitors have in their ranks ex-Pune FC defender Kamal Thapa marshalling their defence, apart from ex-India international and experienced Jatin Bisht in the midfield. Japanese attacker Katsumi Yusa poses to be a threat in creating and scoring and so far has netted thrice and assisted a couple in the 10 ONGC have scored this season.

On the season so far, Pune FC coach said, "Despite dominating matches in the Durand Cup we could not convert them into wins. Later, in the Federation Cup we could not play to potential owing to the ground conditions. We matched every opponent all through, with the midfield working well with the strikers, but upfront we lacked finish."

Pune FC, since the Federation Cup campaign, are a transformed side with South Sudan striker James Moga joining in and adding teeth upfront. Coach Perreira pointed out, "The squad is an improved lot after Moga joined. Daisuke (Nishiguchi) and Douhou (Pierre) have got fitter despite joining the team late."

The hosts in fact added experienced wing-half Khanthang Paite, a former Churchill Brothers and East Bengal player, to their line up recently.Pune FC go into the opening game missing the services of four players – goalkeeper Abhra Mondal, defender N. Mohanraj, midfielder Nikhil Kadam and Arta Izumi.

Abhra is still recovering from a broken shin sustained last year, while Mohanraj is slowly getting back from a back injury.Newly-signed Academy player, Nikhil has a groin injury to deal with.Likewise, Arata is recovering from a great toe contusion to the right foot he suffered during the Federation Cup against Salgaocar SC.The meeting between Pune FC and ONGC will be the seventh overall. "We hope to walk out with an enjoyable match result," the coach added.



06.10.2012 : UNITED SC   VS   AIR INDIA (KOL - 2.30)
2011/2012 :: Air India - United SC :: 0:0
2011/2012 :: United SC - Air India :: 3:0
2010/2011 :: Air India - United SC :: 1:1
2010/2011 :: United SC - Air India :: 0:0
2009/2010 :: Air India - United SC :: 3:1
2009/2010 :: United SC - Air India :: 3:3
2008/2009 :: United SC - Air India :: 1:0
2008/2009 :: Air India - United SC :: 1:0
Total 8 Matches : USC win - 2, Drew - 4, Lost 2
USC were unbeaten in Home matches: 4 matches ( 2 wins, 2 drew)
AIR were unbeaten in their 4 home matches ( 2 wins, 2 drew)
USC were unbeaten in their last 4 matches against Air India.

06.10.2012 : SPORTING GOA   VS   EAST BENGAL (GOA - 5.30)

2011/2012 :: Sporting Goa - East Bengal :: 0:1 (W)
2011/2012 :: East Bengal - Sporting Goa :: 3:0 (W)
2009/2010 :: Sporting Goa - East Bengal :: 0:1 (W)
2009/2010 :: East Bengal - Sporting Goa :: 1:1
2008/2009 :: Sporting Goa - East Bengal :: 1:1
2008/2009 :: East Bengal - Sporting Goa :: 3:1 (W)
2007/2008 :: Sporting Goa - East Bengal :: 1:0
2007/2008 :: East Bengal - Sporting Goa :: 1:1
2006/2007 :: Sporting Goa - East Bengal :: 1:1
2006/2007 :: East Bengal - Sporting Goa :: 0:2
2005/2006 :: Sporting Goa - East Bengal :: 3:1
2005/2006 :: East Bengal - Sporting Goa :: 4:3 (W)
2004/2005 :: East Bengal - Sporting Goa :: 2:3
2004/2005 :: Sporting Goa - East Bengal :: 1:2 (W)
2003/2004 :: Sporting Goa - East Bengal :: 1:2 (W)
2003/2004 :: East Bengal - Sporting Goa :: 2:0 (W)


05.10.2012 : SHILLONG LAJONG   VS   MOHUN BAGAN (SHILLONG - 2.45 PM)

 
2011/2012 :: Mohun Bagan   	- Shillong Lajong  	6:1
2011/2012 :: Shillong Lajong  	- Mohun Bagan AC 	0:0
2009/2010 :: Mohun Bagan AC 	- Shillong Lajong  	1:4
2009/2010 :: Shillong Lajong 	- Mohun Bagan AC 	1:2 


05.10.2012 : DEMPO   VS   CHURCHIL BROTHERS (GOA - 5.30 PM)


2011/2012 Churchill Brothers 	- 	Dempo SC 		2:4
2011/2012 Dempo SC 		- 	Churchill Brothers SC 	1:2
2010/2011 Dempo SC 		- 	Churchill Brothers SC 	2:0
2010/2011 Churchill Brothers 	- 	Dempo SC 		1:1
2009/2010 Dempo SC 		- 	Churchill Brothers SC 	4:2
2009/2010 Churchill Brothers  	- 	Dempo SC 		3:2
2008/2009 Dempo SC 		- 	Churchill Brothers SC 	1:1
2008/2009 Churchill Brothers  	- 	Dempo SC 		3:3
2007/2008 Dempo SC 		- 	Churchill Brothers SC 	4:1
2007/2008 Churchill Brothers  	- 	Dempo SC 		0:2
2006/2007 Dempo SC 		- 	Churchill Brothers SC 	3:1
2006/2007 Churchill Brothers  	- 	Dempo SC 		0:2
2004/2005 Churchill Brothers  	- 	Dempo SC 		1:2
2004/2005 Dempo SC 		- 	Churchill Brothers SC 	0:0
2003/2004 Dempo SC 		- 	Churchill Brothers SC 	2:0
2003/2004 Churchill Brothers  	- 	Dempo SC 		0:0
2002/2003 Churchill Brothers  	- 	Dempo SC 		2:0
2002/2003 Dempo SC 		- 	Churchill Brothers SC 	0:0
1999/2000 Dempo SC 		- 	Churchill Brothers SC 	0:2
1999/2000 Churchill Brothers  	- 	Dempo SC 		5:0
1998/1999 Churchill Brothers  	- 	Dempo SC 		2:1
1998/1999 Dempo SC 		- 	Churchill Brothers SC 	0:0
1997/1998 Dempo SC 		- 	Churchill Brothers SC 	1:1
1997/1998 Churchill Brothers  	- 	Dempo SC 		2:1
1996/1997 Churchill Brothers  	- 	Dempo SC 		1:1
1996/1997 Dempo SC 		- 	Churchill Brothers SC 	2:3

05.10.2012 : PAILAN ARROWS   VS   MUMBAI FC (KOL - 2.30 PM)
2011/2012  Mumbai FC 		- 	Pailan Arrows 	1:1
2011/2012  Pailan Arrows 	- 	Mumbai FC 	1:1
2010/2011  Mumbai FC 		- 	Pailan Arrows 	1:2
2010/2011  Pailan Arrows 	- 	Mumbai FC 	1:1 

05.10.2012 : UNITED SIKKIM   VS   SALGAOCAR (SIKKIM - 2.00 PM)


R-2


ROUND - 2
12.10.2012 : MOHUN BAGAN   VS   UNITED SC (KOLKATA)

head to head in i-league

2011/2012   Mohun Bagan - United SC   1:2
2011/2012   United SC - Mohun Bagan   3:2
2010/2011   United SC - Mohun Bagan   1:1
2010/2011   Mohun Bagan - United SC   0:1
2009/2010   United SC - Mohun Bagan   1:5
2009/2010   Mohun Bagan - United SC   2:3
2008/2009   United SC - Mohun Bagan   1:2
2008/2009   Mohun Bagan - United SC   2:0

A rejuvenated Prayag United SC would be gunning to extend their winning form when they take on city giants Mohun Bagan in the second round of the I-League at Kolkata's Salt Lake Stadium on Friday (October 12).

Having played second fiddle to the bigwigs of the local hierarchy for a considerable period, United SC has evolved in a big way this season with a multi-crore purse and with star signings that has even outshone the traditional giants. The target obviously stays the I-League title and United SC made the right start with a 5-1 win against Air India in the opener.

On the other hand, Mohun Bagan have failed to live upto the promise despite ruling the headlines in the pre-season transfers, where it affected a virtual coup roping in Australian striker Tolgay Ozbey from arch-rival East Bengal.

The impending contest will thus be a good assessment of the virtues that each team has set out to convince their supporters. The away match against Shillong Lajong FC in the opening round proved a disaster as Mohun Bagan lost the match 0-2 enraging the vast legion of fans.

"Our opponents are a strong one and high on confidence after a big win in the first match. My team is also good and hope that we start performing to our potential," Mohun Bagan coach Santosh Kashyap said.

Kashyap, like most of the team's supporters, has been hoping that the team's two big investments – Nigerian striker Odafa Okolie and Ozbey – would strike a good combination and get the goals. Bagan would also be looking for an effective coordination in its midfield and defence, which so far not been able to perform in consonance.

Prayag United coach Sanjoy Sen has been able to dispel the doubts, which had cropped up after the team's early exit from the Federation Cup, with the morale-boosting win against Air India in the first round. The coach's target now will be ensuring a level of consistency.

"As far as I remember Prayag United have never lost to Mohun Bagan during my tenure," Sen banked on this enviable record ahead of the second round test. "Our team is in good shape especially after the big win in the first round."

Sen is particularly confident with the way his two foreigners Nigerian Ranty Martins - who scored a hat-trick - and Costa Rican Carlos Hernandes combined in realising the win against Air India.

However, Prayag United will be missing the services of its Nigerian defender Bello Rasaq, who is suspended because of a red card he received in the previous match. Indian international Gouramangi Singh, who missed the first match with fever, is set to return and would have to shoulder the responsibility of holding Mohun Bagan's famed attack in absence of Rasaq.





12.10.2012 : DEMPO SC   VS   SPORTING GOA (GOA)

HEAD TO HEAD IN NFL.ILEAGUE


2011/2012  	Sporting Goa 	- 	Dempo SC 	  1:4
2011/2012  	Dempo SC 	- 	Sporting Goa 	  3:2
2009/2010  	Sporting Goa 	- 	Dempo SC 	  1:2
2009/2010  	Dempo SC 	- 	Sporting Goa      3:1
2008/2009  	Sporting Goa 	- 	Dempo SC 	  2:1
2008/2009  	Dempo SC 	- 	Sporting Goa 	  0:1
2007/2008  	Dempo SC 	- 	Sporting Goa 	  4:1
2007/2008  	Sporting Goa 	- 	Dempo SC 	  0:1
2006/2007  	Sporting Goa 	- 	Dempo SC 	  0:2
2006/2007  	Dempo SC 	- 	Sporting Goa 	  3:2
2005/2006  	Sporting Goa 	- 	Dempo SC 	  2:2
2005/2006  	Dempo SC 	- 	Sporting Goa 	  0:0
2004/2005  	Sporting Goa 	- 	Dempo SC 	  1:2
2004/2005  	Dempo SC 	- 	Sporting Goa 	  0:4
2003/2004  	Sporting Goa 	- 	Dempo SC 	  1:3
2003/2004  	Dempo SC 	- 	Sporting Goa 	  1:0 

Dempo Sports Club coach Armando Colaco admits he is "extra cautious" ahead of his team's clash against Sporting Clube de Goa in a second round I-League clash at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, on Friday (October 12).

Despite being far away from their best, Dempo won the opening match 2-1 against Churchill Brothers. But it is Sporting Clube's superlative performance against East Bengal that has given the defending champions the jitters.

"I was amazed the way Sporting Clube played against East Bengal and that too without any foreign players. They have a lot of spunk are filled with energy and will come hard at us. We have to be extra cautious against them." said the former India coach.

The Dempo coach also asked his team not to be complacent against a team that is high on confidence. "My players should not take this match lightly. Sporting are a dangerous team and against East Bengal, they demonstrated they can match anyone even if they do not have any foreign player on the field," Armando added. It is unlikely that the Dempo coach will make any significant change to the team that started on a winning note against Churchill Brothers.

Sporting Clube de Goa, on the other hand, are bristling with confidence after snatching a point against East Bengal. “We were worried in the opening match but now that the boys have proved themselves, they will feel much more relieved and confident. I am sure we can perform in the same manner against Dempo," said Technical Director Alex Alvares.

Sporting fielded an all Indian side in the opening match and for the second consecutive match the trend could continue. "We do not feel the need to make any changes. These boys are capable of upsetting the odds," said Alvares.





12.10.2012 : SHILLONG LAJONG   VS   SALGAOCAR SC (SHILLONG)

A confident Shillong Lajong Football Club aim to carry on the momentum when they take on Federation Cup semifinalist Salgaocar SC in a Round II match of the I-League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Sports Complex on Friday (October 12).

The Goan outfit who had suffered a defeat at the hands of United Sikkim in their first match stay aware about the significance of the match. One more slip-up and despite the League being a marathon one, they will have to play catch-up.

"I wanted to go back home with at least four points from the first two matches but the defeat in Sikkim has come as a frustration and we will go all out to win the match" Salgaocar Coach Karim Bencherifa uttered.

"The boys are home sick as they have been away from home for the past 20 days. First we played in Jamshedpur in the Federation Cup and from there we shifted to Siliguri. And even as most teams went back to their respective places after the Federation Cup, we moved directly to Gangtok," he added. "Lajong are a good side who play a physical game," he concluded.

The home side will bank on the home support which has been their 12th player since time they made their debut in the I-League. Weather conditions are also going to play a major role in their favour. Coach Desmond Bulpin stays hopeful the players will repeat their inaugural day performance. “The boys are fit and I am sure they will put a good show in the same manner they played against Mohun Bagan."



Pune FC out to maintain unbeaten home run against Mumbai FC



HEAD TO HEAD IN I-LEAGUE

2011/2012   Pune FC - Mumbai FC  3:0
2011/2012   Mumbai FC - Pune FC   0:0
2010/2011   Pune FC - Mumbai FC  1:1
2010/2011   Mumbai FC - Pune FC   2:0
2009/2010   Mumbai FC - Pune FC   1:2
2009/2010   Pune FC - Mumbai FC  1:1


10.1.2010: PFC MEDIA: Pune FC will be out to extend their winning run in the I-League 2012-13 when they clash with Mumbai FC at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mhalunge-Balewadi here on Thursday. Having set the tone, the hosts will be wary of their opponents who go into this Round-2 clash desperately needing to open their account. The opening round reverse to Pailan Arrows in Round 1 meant Mumbai FC is yet to register a win this season.

So far, Mumbai FC in four competitive games lost 2 and drew one in Jamshedpur apart from the I-League opener. Pune FC Coach, Derrick Pereira, opined, "Every 'Maha Derby' is a big fight. And yes we expect them to come at us and have our plans in place."

Cautious about the expected backlash, Pune FC coach believes this unique twice-in-a-year-league Darby is all about two sides trying to best each other after being formed in the same year. "Regional superiority is also another factor as four teams compete in the league," he explained.

Having opened with a 3-2 victory over ONGC, the Pune FC Coach was satisfied with the result, but felt that the team could have done better. "We will go with the same attitude and certainly cannot underestimate our opponents."

On the eve of the Mumbai FC game, the Coach hinted at changes in the squad. Midfielder Mumtaz Akthar, suspended for Thursday's game, has opened the doors for on-loan signee Khantang Paite. Likewise, Abhra Mondal, N Mohanraj, Sukhwinder Singh and Nikhil Kadam continue to recover from their respective injuries.

The Coach explains, "From the rest available some are recovering from niggles from the last match and that will need to be looked into on the day of the match."

The late evening game would also mean a lot of familiar faces turning out as rivals and includes medio Kamaljeet Kumar and striker Sampath Kuttimani both ex-Pune FC turned Mumbai FC players. Same can be said of Pune FC defender Anas Edathodika, who switched sides last year.

Interestingly, the encounter also expects to have the Costas'- Caitano and Peter, face off. Peter is coming back after an injury that sidelined him for a couple of years. Both sides face-off for the sixth time in I-League, with Pune FC holding the edge winning two and playing out three drawn encounters. In fact, at home Pune FC has never lost an encounter in the four times they met and includes the 3-0 win registered in the last meeting.

Striker Subash Singh has a unique distinction of scoring three of the last four goals Pune FC scored against Mumbai FC in the last 3 games and ever since he's been at the club. With the Mumbai FC defence leaking 11 goals in their 4-match season so far, both Subash and Jeje Lalpekhlua will hope to continue their scoring ways.

"We've had a good start and we need to build on it," summed up Pune FC coach after a pre-match practice session at the venue. Mumbai FC will be led by Ghanaian defensive player Evans Quao, and boast of experience through the team with the likes of Nicholas Rodrigues and Subhash Chakraborty on the flanks, James Singh in the centre of the park.

Upfront ND Opara, who has four goals to his name this season and Abhishek Yadav give the line up punch, apart from Afghan captain Haroon Fakhruddin is their hard-running man-friday, who can play anywhere in midfield, defence, or attack.



Pailan look to sustain winning momentum Against AIR INDIA
HEAD TO HEAD IN I-LEAGUE

2011/2012   Pailan Arrows - Air India   0:2
2011/2012   Air India - Pailan Arrows   2:0
2010/2011   Air India - Indian Arrows   2:5
2010/2011   AIFF XI - Air India   2:1


10.10.2012: AIFF MDIA: Pailan Arrows, All India Football Federation's Developmental side will look to carry on the winning momentum when they take on Durand Cup champion Air India in the second round of the I-League at Kolkata's Salt Lake Stadium on Thursday (October 11). Having outplayed Mumbai FC 3-2 in the opening round, the Arrows, in their second consecutive home match, would look to conquer the other Mumbai side.

Arrows have being be strengthened by the arrival of their Australian coach Arthur Papas. Papas, who inspired Arrows to a series of good performances early in the season, missed the first I-League match because of visa problems. The team practiced on Wednesday under Papas’ assistant Aaron Simon, who sounded confident about the boys putting up another good showing. "Air India are a good side and I hope the boys would live up to the challenge and continue with the form of the last match," he said.

The only change Arrows are like to make is in the goalkeeping department, where Soram Poirei is likely to replace Ravi Kumar. The rest of the winning combination is likely to be retained under the captain Milan Singh. Despite being a youth team Arrows’ have shown lot of maturity as they picked up two wins while remaining unbeaten in the last six matches (since the Durand Cup) against different senior teams.

On the other hand, Air India, still smarting under the 1-5 drubbing it got from a 10-man Prayag United SC in the opener, looked for a turnaround under coach Godfrey Pereira.

"Arrows are a very energetic and youthful side. They stay motivated having won their first match but I'm hopeful my team will put behind the setback of the first match and play true to their potential," Pereira said after Air India’s practice on Wednesday.

The Air India coach said he has a good measure of the Arrows team having held to a 1-1 draw in the group league stage of Durand Cup. Air India boasts of two Nigerians in their ranks – Henry Ezeh and Elijah Junior, and Pereira hopes his boys would cast off the first round defeat and produce a reformed performance.



Churchill Brothers 'not taking anything for granted'against ONGC

HEAD TO HEAD IN I-LEAGUE
2010/2011   Churchill Brothers - ONGC FC   3:3
2010/2011   ONGC FC - Churchill Brothers   1:1

Churchill Brothers Coach Subhash Bhowmick is keeping fingers crossed and hoping Churchill Brothers Sports Club will come good against ONGC in a second round I-League clash at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, on Thursday (October 11).

Churchill Brothers have been a revelation all through the season. Whether it was the Federation Cup or the first match of the I-League, Churchill’s style have been a treat for everyone’s eyes so far. However, they have not tasted much success and the Technical Director is now hoping things will change.

"I am confident against ONGC but have to keep my fingers crossed. They are a very good side,"said Bhowmick. Bhowmick said he had watched ONGC in the Federation Cup give stronger sides a run for their money. And it is for this reason that he is not taking anything for granted.

"We must play our best football to get full points against the visitors. Believe me, it will not be easy to play them. They are high on fitness and if we give them the space to operate, they will take us by surprise," Bhowmick added. Bhowmick is likely to field an unchanged side that stretched defending champions Dempo Sports Club to the limit in the opening game.

ONGC, on the other hand, also took Pune FC by surprise rallying from two goals to tie the match at 2-2 before Shanmugham Venkatesh eventually settled the match in Pune’s honour with an opportunistic goal in their opening match. ONGC will take heart from their encouraging performances this season which includes a 2-1 win over Sporting Clube de Goa in the Federation Cup group stage.



R-3



ROUND - 3

ROUND 3 : Pune FC out on a mission against East Bengal tomorrow

PFC RELEASE : Pune FC will bank on the winning run and a fit squad ahead of their game against Kingfisher East Bengal in the I-League 2012-13 at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata, on Monday. Currently fourth on the League table with six points from two games, Pune FC Coach Derrick Pereira is aware of the job on hand and remains focused to build upon the advantage. In contract, East Bengal is in seventh place and has 4 points in their kitty.

Following a light workout on Sunday, the coach opined, "East Bengal as a team is an experienced side. But in saying so, I also do believe we have an equally good side to match anybody and God willing we can get a good result." For the mid-afternoon game on Monday, Pune FC having included goalkeeper Abhra Mondal, striker James Moga and midfielder Arata Izumi in their 18-man squad and will be eager to relive their last victory over the host's way back in 2009-2010.

Kolkata-born Abhra replaces Amrinder Singh from the side that played last. In fact, Abhra returns to the squad for the first time nine months after he cracked his right-leg shin bone in Shillong. The Coach explains, "Abhra's inclusion to the squad will mean a lot for the player himself. "He will gain the confidence needed after staying away for a long period. He has the experience for big match situations and moreover knows what one should expect in Kolkata."

Striker Moga, who missed the first two games by contracting malaria, is fit and ready. The South Sudan player has been included into the side in place of East Bengal on-loan player Khanthang Paite. The midfielder was excluded from the side owing to a clause East Bengal put in the loan agreement which restricts Paite to feature against the hosts. Midfielder Arata, like Moga, will be looking at his first I-League start after injuring his great toe bruise to the right foot he suffered during the Federation Cup against Salgaocar SC. Arata replaces Shanmugam Venkatesh, who is nursing a groin injury suffered during practice.

Likewise, midfielder Mumtaz Akhtar returns after serving a one-man suspension in the last match against Mumbai FC. Interestingly, Abhra, Arata and Mumtaz are ex-East Bengal players, with striker Subash Singh making it four in the squad that travelled. With options aplenty, Pune FC is expected to hand starts to some of its new inclusions. Upfront Moga, who resumed training with the side since a week, seems a certainly to play alongside Jeje Lalpekhlua, with the focus on breaking the three loss run to Trevor Morgan's side at Kolkata in previous outings .

Moga's possible inclusion is something the Pune FC Coach prefers to hold back until match day. "Moga is a good player and what is left to be seen is how fast he can strike an understanding with striker Jeje and midfielder Douhou (Pierre). And if that fits in place we have a set side." However, the one area the Coach feels needs to step up is the backline. "Our defence will need to tighten up a bit." The evaluation is based on the soft goals Pune Fc conceded in the both previous games.

With the League resuming after a two-week break, the Coach felt it was a blessing in disguise. Winning gave us the psychological advantage; the break gave some players time to recover fully. All I will say is that we need to defend well and need to build on the start we've had so far. The game for both teams turns out to be a first in I-League season. Pune FC plays their first away game, while the Federation Cup champions' Round-3 is the first home game following that victory.

Pune FC goes into the match prepared. During the break, the team travelled to Mumbai for practice game against Dodsal FC on an artificial pitch keeping in mind the need to adapt, apart from dealing with high day temperatures. Both teams lock horns in the ninth all-time meeting. The encounter, in I-League is the seventh, which brings up another fact that Pune FC hope to correct. In none of the six-previous games has Pune FC ever managed to open the scoring. Interestingly, the I-League clashes have been tight and even out on win-draw-loss counts logging two in each respectively.





Air India Vs Mohun Bagan Tomorrow at Pune: A Challenge to Mohun Bagan

..That was 22nd Sept 2012 when 10 men Air India beat Mohun Bagan and finished their dream in 34th Fede cup held at Siliguri this year. Air India defender John Dias red carded in 12th minute but Mohun Bagan was unable to score a goal while Air India scored two in 28th and 85th minutes and won the challenge against Mohun Bagan. That was the last encounter between the I-LEAGUE playing teams.

Now Mohun Bagan will get a chance to take a revenge of that Fed Cup loss tomorrow at Pune against Air india in their 3rd Round of I-LEAGUE match where both teams have not yet get any point from their last two matches. Mohun Bagan lost first match to Shillong Lajong 0-2 and 2nd to home rival United SC 1-2 while Air India lost first to United SC 1-5 and then to Pailan Arrwos 1-2. Mohun Bagan scored only 2 goals in two match conseded 4 while Air India conseded 7 and scored 2 goals against their opponent.

Tough time to Mohun Bagan as their cheif coach Santosh Kashyap left the team and new recruited Salgaocar coach Karim will join few weeks after now tomorrow's match is a new challenge to asst Coach Mridul Banerjee.

19 times unbeaten Mohun Bagan against Air India in their all 20 encounters in National league won 1st leg 3-1 then drew in 2nd leg 2-2 in the 2011-12 season.

Although Air India is a Mumbai based team and their home ground is cooperage Stadium though they will play against Mohun Bagan in Pune tomorrow as home match.

2011/2012  Air India - Mohun Bagan   2:2
2011/2012  Mohun Bagan - Air India   3:1
2010/2011  Mohun Bagan - Air India   2:0
2010/2011  Air India - Mohun Bagan   1:1
2009/2010  Mohun Bagan - Air India   4:0
2009/2010  Air India - Mohun Bagan   0:5
2008/2009  Air India - Mohun Bagan   1:2
2008/2009  Mohun Bagan - Air India   1:1
2007/2008  Air India - Mohun Bagan   0:0
2007/2008  Mohun Bagan - Air India   2:0
2006/2007  Air India - Mohun Bagan   0:0
2006/2007  Mohun Bagan - Air India   2:1
2005/2006  Mohun Bagan - Air India   2:1
2005/2006  Air India - Mohun Bagan   0:2
2000/2001  Mohun Bagan - Air India   1:0
2000/2001  Air India - Mohun Bagan   0:3
1998/1999  Air India - Mohun Bagan   0:1
1998/1999  Mohun Bagan - Air India   2:0
1997/1998  Air India - Mohun Bagan   2:2
1997/1998  Air India - Mohun Bagan   1:0
Out of 20 encounters Mohun Bagan was unbeatn in 19 times. Barreto scored hattrick against AIR INDIA in 5-0 win in the year 2009-10 season.


3rd Round: United sikkim Vs Dempo SC

Dempo SC, the Defending champions of I-LEAGUE will face Baichung Bhutia's United Sikkim for the first time in I-LEAGUE at Paljor Stadium Gangtok, Sikkim tomorrow. The current table topper Dempo in their last two matches beat their home Goan side Churchill Brothers 2-1 and routed Sporting Goa 5-0 to earn full 6 points. The Goan side also table topper in current Goa pro league also with 9 points in hand.

Dempo is looking for 3 points against their away match tomorrow where they may file a strong team like Rohan Ricketts, Koko Sakibo and Ryuji Sueoka in upfront. But Armando Colaco's boys are confident for a good fight against Phillippe De Ridder's boys at their home support advantage.

On the other hand, United Sikkim got 3 point from last 2 matches where they beat strong Salgaocar 2-3 and lost to Kolkata Giant East Bengal 0-1. United Sikkim may included any three of their newly signed Togo born player DG Attivi alongwith Costa Rican Michael Rodriquez, Nigerian Nurudeen and South Korean goalkeeper Tae Woon.


3rd Round: Salgaocar VS Pailan Arrows

Goan side Salgaocar Sports Club will face Pailan Arrows tomorrow at home in the 3rd round match at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda. Upro 2 round Salgaocar has hot only 1 point while AIFF team has got 6 points from two matches so far which is good start of them in this season.

Salgaocar now facing coach problem as their coach Karim has resigned and will join Mohun Bagan, for the reason Peter Valles is their imtrim coach.

Salgaocar lost their opening clash against United Sikkim 2-3 and then made an away draw against Shillong Lajong Football Club while Pailan won 3-2 against Mumbai FC in first match and then 2-1 against Air India. Arthur Papas boys are confident after beating two Mumbai side and now confident against their match against goan side Salgaocar. Arrows boys made 1-1 against Dempo in Fed cup.


3rd Round: Shillong Lajong VS Sporting Goa

Meghalaya side Shillong Lajong made a good start in this year's I-LEAGUE when thy beat 3 times League Champion Mohun Bagan 2-0 at home in their first match and then hold Salgaocar 1-1 in 2nd match.

Tomorrow the team will play against an another Goan side Sporting goa at home ground of Shillong may be a full crowded JN Sports Complex stadium advantage. Desmond Bulpin's boys are confident to win the 3rd round match.

Soibam Ekendra Sing's boys hold East Bengal 0-0 but lost to Dempo 0-5 in 2nd match but they beat Churchill Brothers 2-0 iin Goa Pro league few days ago but there both teams filed their 2nd team.



3rd ROUND : Confident Churchill ready for Mumbai FC challenge

26.10.2012: AIFF RELEASE : Churchill Brothers Sports Club will adopt an aggressive approach against Mumbai FC in a third round I-League clash at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, on Saturday (October 27).

Churchill Brothers demolished ONGC 5-0 in their previous match and looked in fine touch with Lebanese striker Akram Moghrabi scoring a hat-trick. When Churchill take the field on Saturday, there won’t be any change in their approach.

"We cannot afford to take Mumbai FC lightly, just like any other team in the competition. However, we are not going to change our approach. We will be aggressive as usual. But, that will be controlled aggression," said Churchill Brothers Technical Director Subhash Bhowmick.

Bhowmick has moulded Churchill into a fine attacking bunch and their performances in the Federation Cup and two matches in the I-League have suggested that they are among the best teams in the country. Bhowmick, though, believes it is too soon to make any assumptions.

"There is a long way to go for the league to call us, or anyone, favourites. But I do agree that we have played attractive football," said Bhowmick, who will field an unchanged side from the previous match.

Akram is likely to start with Brazilian striker Roberto Mendes da Silva upfront while young India international Lenny Rodrigues will call the shots from the midfield.

Mumbai FC, on the other hand, are yet to open their account but coach Khalid Jamil will be confident after the arrival of Ghanaian striker Yakubu Yusif. The veteran striker has already joined the squad and will be eager to prove that there is still much football left in him.

Yakubu, in all certainties, will be partnered by Nigerian striker Ndubusi Opara, who last year donned colours for Churchill Brothers and even has a hat-trick in the I-League to his name. With Yakubu and Opara keen to prove a point, Churchill will have to be on their guard.



ONGC VS UNITED SC : I-LEAGUE MATCH ON OCTOBER 26 AT DR. AMBEDKAR STADIUM, DELHI

Big money spenders Prayag United are favourites for their 3rd round I-League tite against ONGC at the Ambedkar stadium at 3p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26. Both teams had practise sessions at the ground today and expressed satisfaction at th ground conditions. Prayag United which won both their earlier matches are playing their first away match and coach Sanjoy sen is keen to maintain their winning streak

Lethal striker Ranti martins who joined Prayag United this season is expected to lead the attack along with Mohd. Rafiq. Sanjoy sen says Ranti is a model professional and encourages youngsters and is a tital team man. ranti has already scored a hat-trick against Air India and is raring to against ONGC. He has developed a fine combination with ace playmaker Carlos Hernandez, who played in the 2006 World Cup for Costa Rica.

Prayag United has an abundance of riches in midfield. S. Malsawmtlunga who celebrated his brithday yesterday is likely to start on the right. K. Asif who joined from Chirag Kerala this season is in good nick and likely to play as defensive midfielder. Vineeth another recruit from Kerala, will play on the left flank. Promising midfielders Lal kamal Bhowmick and Lester Fernandez are likely to be substitutes.

Gourmangi Singh and Subrata Pal, who have won the Nehru Cup twice at this venue, will be in action for Prayag united at their happy hunting ground.

ONGC will rely on ex-international midfielder Jatin bisht to speahead the attack. Former Air india striker Kailash Patil is likely to play. Coach Subrata Bhattacharya (Jr) will rely on Japanese recruit Yusa Katsumi and sachin Gawas to initaite attacks. Kamal Thapa and Bilfrang nzary will be the key players in defence.

The managers meeting wa sheld this evening and attende dby he match commissioner CM Ramesh Babu of Tamil nadu. The referee for the match is Tejas Nagvenkar of Goa. the assistant referees are Anthony Elvis Simoes and Franky fernandez/ UImesh Bora of delhi is the 4th referee.



ONGC VS UNITED SC : I-LEAGUE MATCH ON OCTOBER 26 AT DR. AMBEDKAR STADIUM, DELHI

Both Prayag United and ONGC arrived in Delhi today to prepare for their 3rd round I-League match at the Ambedkar stadium on Friday October, October 26.

The match kicks off at 3p.m. Big money spenders Prayag United, showed their seriousness by cutting short their Puja celebrations and reaching Delhi early to get acclimatised. They will practice at the Ambedkar Stadium, on Thursday morning at 8.30p.m.

Prayag United's coach Sanjoy Sen said that all the players were fit and ready for action. He said, "I am with the positive start my team has made in the 6th I-League with six points from two matches but it is still a long way to go, there are 24 rounds left and well take it match by match." Sanjoy Sen does not want to put the pressure of being one of the favourites for the I-League title on his players and so refrains from mentioning this topic.

However with both East Bengal(4 points from two matches and Mohun Bagan (one point from two matches) not getting off to a proper start, many experts feel that Prayag United has the depth in the squad and the talent to become the first Kolkata team to win the I-League. The previous five I-league titles have been won by Goa based clubs, Dempo thrice, Churchill Brothers and Salgaocar once each.

At present Prayag United is sharing the top spot with Dempo with six points from two matches. Prayag United is an exciting team to watch, with prolific Nigerian striker Ranti Martins (top scorer in the I-League for the last two seasons) in top form and his combination with 2006 World Cup star, Carlos Hernandez of Honduras will is both effective and delightful to watch.

Promising midfielders Lester Fernandez and Lal Kamal Bhowmick, both on the threshold of being selected for the national team, will look to impress in front of the national media in Delhi. Midfield is Prayag United's strength and in Hernandez, Bhowmick and Lester they have quality players with individual skills and great passing abilities.

ONGC has lost both their matches so far, 2-3 to Pune FC and 0-5 to Churchill Brothers and so will be desperate to pick up their first points in the 6th I League. Coach Subrata Bhattacharya (Jr.) hopes his foreign recruits Katsumi Yuso (Japan), I.K. Echukwu and Oneyama Eke (both from Nigeria) and young players Robin Gurung (from Sikkim), Bilfrang Nazary and K.V. Lalu rise to the occasion.

R-4



UNITED SC TO PLAY AGAINST SHILLONG LAJONG FC IN AWAY TOMORROW IN 4TH ROUND MATCH OF I-LEAGUE 2012-13



03.11.2012: ( MFA RELEASE) : The Reds will take on Kolkata side Prayag United SC in a tight battle of the I-League 2012-13 season tomorrow at the J.N Stadium Shillong at 2.30 PM.

United SC Head Coach Sanjoy Sen said that the boys should not lose their concentration and should stay focused. He also commented that in any football tournament a team cannot always win all the games. Also, no one should judge whether a player is good or not just by one performance. It can take time for a team to settle down and adapt to all kinds of situation. He also said that Lajong is a good team and they play high quality football.

Head Coach of Shillong Lajong FC Desmond Bulpin said that Prayag United is one of the best teams in the I-League. They have performed remarkably well right from the start of the season. The coach said that he is looking forward for the game tomorrow and hopes that the crowd will stand behind the team and support the boys the entire 90 minutes of the game.

"The boys have the fighting spirit and I believe that they will continue to fight till the end because they have the will to never give up", he added.

Renedy Singh, the captain of Shillong Lajong FC said that United SC is a tough side to beat this season and they have good players in their squad. "We will have a good match tomorrow and the boys will definitely put up a good fight. We have to play a high tempo and high pressurising game in order to beat the Kolkata side. We will play for a win", he concluded.



Pune FC has a point to prove against Churchill Brothers tomorrow

03.11.2012: PFC RELEASE :Pune FC will be out to prove that their slipup in the previous round was a case of being unlucky when they take on Churchill Brothers in an I-League Round-4 home encounter, on Sunday. Back in familiar surrounds, Pune FC goes into the encounter aiming to take heart from the two-match winning start they've enjoyed this season at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mahlunge-Balewadi.

With six points apiece, the teams are separated by goal-difference with the Goans edging out the home side for a place in the Top-5. The scenario, thus, makes it important for Pune FC to get back. Coach Derrick Pereira on the eve of the match was optimistic that his boys were ready to move on. "Past results aren't the job on hand, but getting on with the next is top priority. One needs to concentrate on what has to be done the next time out on the pitch," he explains.

On the opponents, who will be playing their first away game, the coach said, "We are up against a good quality attacking side. We have to be at our best to counter that." The coach observations come from the facts that the visitors ride on the back of 2 successive home wins over fellow Maharashtra sides ONGC (5-0) and MFC (3-1) in Goa. That apart, the Goans in this season (2012-13) has been hot on form having scored 17 goals in 7 matches. Interestingly, the visitors when up against seasoned sides have struggled to earn similar results.

The Coach adds, "We need to go in and play our natural game focus and concentrate to get the best result possible, which I am sure to get. The game will be a good match and the need for us is to play to potential. Yes, in saying so we also need to be alert and cut down our silly mistakes to be effective."

Having made his observations, the key to Pune FC's success rests in how best they cope with Churchill's dependency on their foreign fire-power for goals. In this season 14 of the 17 have been scored by Lebanese striker Akram Moghrabi (7), Brazillian midfielder Beto (5) and Gabon striker Henry (2). Coach explains, "We need to believe in ourselves and get consistent."

For the game on hand, Pune FC's think-tank has made a few changes in the side that played East Bengal in Round-3. In the 18 announced for Sunday, wing-half’s Nikhil Kadam, Khangtang Paite and central midfielder Sukhwinder Singh have been included. Local-lad Nikhil and the experienced Sukhwinder figure in the team for the first time in the I-League, while Khangtang returns to the squad after missing the last match. In fact, Paite will come up against the club where he spent 5 seasons from 2006-2011 (including his 1st professional club after graduating from TFA).

The fresh legs added to the midfield will add sting to Pune FC campaign as for the second match in the row the experienced of Shanmugam Venkatesh, sits out owing to the groin injury he suffered. While Pune FC will be looking to get back to winning ways, the other fact the host's will like to set straight is the two successive losses suffered in last 2 seasons at Balewadi.

Both teams face off for the seventh time and Pune FC in all time head-to-head meetings edge out the Goans. Pune FC has won thrice of which only once at home way back in 2009-10, lost two and drawn one. Moreover, with Churchill already scoring a win each over all Maharashtra teams, including Air-India in the Federation Cup, Pune FC will also be out to prevent a clean sweep.



03.11.2012: ONGC to play against Mumbai side Air India at Delhi tomorrow

The battle of Mumbai will be fought on the lush green playing surface of Delhi's Ambedkar stadium, on Sunday, 4 August, when ONGC play their home match in the 4th round I-League tie against rivals Air India. The match is scheduled to kick off at 3p.m. Both these teams have made a stuttering start to their I-league campaign and are tottering at the bottom of the table. Air India has lost all their three matches so far. ONGC has secured just one point from three matches, when they held front runners Prayag United to a 1-1 draw on Oct 26.

Both Air India and ONGC have happy recent experiences at the Ambedkar stadium. At this same venue, Air India won the Durand tournament for the first time in their history, two months ago when they overcame another Mumbai side Dodsal United on penalties in the final. However their goalkeeper Harshad Meher who excelled in that match is unavailable due to a knee injury. His replacement is the promising, young Jagroop Singh, who represented India in the 2011 pre-Olympics. Another Air India player missing through injury is Souvik Chakraborty.

Air India has a compact, tight-marking defence in which Ramandeep Singh Randhawa and John Charles Dias (joined from Dempo SC) this season play a stellar role. In midfield they rely on another Dempo recruit, Mickey Fernandez to initiate attacks. Air India’s biggest concern is their non-functioning attack.

They have scored just twice in three matches. Both their front runners are experienced Nigerians, Henry Ezeh and Obagbemiro Junior who have played in India for some years. They have not been in good nick till now but if they click they can be quite a handful.

Air India arrived in Delhi on Friday without their regular coach Godfrey Pereira who is on a flight and expected to join the squad on Sunday. Former Air India player Joginder Thapa is the interim coach. ONGC has stayed on in Delhi since their 3rd round tie ten days ago. So they will be more adjusted to the weather and ground conditions, as they have been practicing daily.

Coach Subrata Bhattacharya (Jr.) admitted they will miss the services of Eric P. Brown of Liberia who saw a red card (two yellows) in their drawn match against Prayag United. Eric had a made sensation debut for ONGC scoring with a swerving free kick and troubling Prayag’s international goalkeeper Subrata Pal on several occasions.

In Eric's absence, ONGC will reply on the lively Japanese midfielder Yusa Katsumi and ex-international Jatin Bisht to create attacks. Surabuddin Mullick is a threat on the flanks. ONGC's defence is solid with Sikkim based Robin Gurung and the Nigerian Hassan Mohammed Adeola marking tightly. Both teams lack goal scorers so a low scoring match is on the cards. Air India had their practice session in the morning at Dr. Ambedkar Stadium.







EAST BENGAL TO PLAY AGAINST DEMPO AT HOME TOMORROW IN 4TH ROUND MATCH OF I-LEAGUE 2012-13

02.11.2012 - Jaydip Dasgupta : One of the most important encounter between the Federation Cup champions East Bengal and the reigning champions of the I-League Dempo Sports Club will going to be kicked off at 2.15 pm at the Vivekananda Yubabharati Kriangan on Saturday, Kolkata. East Bengal at the end of the third round are at the 4th position (7 points) while Dempo has earned full points (9 Points) are at the top of the I-League table. East Bengal beat Dempo 3-2 in the 34th Federation Cup Final held at Siliguri in Sept.

HEAD TO HEAD Between th two in NFL/I-League
Total Matches - 26
WIN : East Bengal 10 : 6 Dempo
Match Drawn : 10 Matches
SCORE : East Bengal 40 : 35

Highest Margin of Victory
26.3.06 : East Bengal 5-3 Dempo Club
22.4.07 : Dempo Club 5-3 East Bengal

TWO TEAMS MEETING AT SALT LAKE STADIUM
Total Matches - 10
WIN : East Bengal 8 : 1 Dempo
Match Drawn : 1 Matches
SCORE : East Bengal 20 : 11

East Bengal will miss the services of Abhijit Mondal who showcased an example of brilliant goal keeping before he injured himself in the last I-League match against Pune FC. Gurpit Singh Sandu will be in charge of the East Bengal goal. East Bengal deep defense has really have to prove their merit. The are lacking in co ordination but the wing backs are up to the mark in defense as well as in the attacks.

The mid field are playing a number of passes between themselves continuously changing their positions. Mehtab Hossain and Penn Orji should have to take the initiative while attacking. The East Bengal forward line will mainly depend on Eddeh Cheddi, but the red and gold are really in search of a valuable performance from Robin, Manandeep and Baljit.

Dempo Sports Club are maintaining the same team years after years. They are the only team in the I-League apart from Pailan Arrows who does not depend on the foreigners. They are playing quite successfully with Mahesh Gowli and Cresen Anto in deep defense, but their wing backs are quite slow while coming back from the counter attacks.

Dempo"s attack are mainly depend on Clifford Miranda and Anthony Perara from the wings but they are feeble while attacking through the middle.But the experience of Climax Lorence and the inclusion of Rohan Riccect in Dempo mid field are not to be neglected.Koko Sakibo has proved himself to be successful in the coming years. Koko has the ability to convert from a minimum space and is a danger man within 18 yards.The sheer speed of Joakim Abranches is really to be noted.

So, the football lovers can expect a high voltage drama on the Saturday afternoon. Who will be successful is a million dollar question. It can be said that the team who can convert the opportunities will definitely have the advantage. The East Bengal coach Trevor James Morgan will use his cards according to the needs of the situation but Armando generally depends on the 4-4-2 formation.


R-5



ROUND - 5

UNBEATEN 26 : Tomorrow East Bengal to face Air India in away at Pune in 5th Round of I-League

East Bengal PERFORMANCE : 03.03.12 - 09.11.12



After a home draw against Dempo SC in the previous match in I-League, East Bengal is ready to face Mumbai side Air India in the away match of 5th Round to be hld at Balewadi Sports Complex at Pune tomorrow at 3.00 PM.

Tomorrow East Bengal will try to earn full thre points from the away match as Thy are still unbeaten in last 10 I-League Matches. East Bengal last lost to Shillong Lajong Away match on 20.2.2012 this year in edition of 2011-12 I-League.

Tomorrow East Bengal will not have the services of their goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal who was injured during the third round match against Pune FC at home. On the other hand After a disappointing start Air India has recovered by winning against ONGC in their last match. Meanwhile Air India started this year I league campaign with 3 losses, with a big 1-5 loss against United SC, followed by Pailan Arrows and Mohun Bagan.

Having forced to play their home matches at the Balewadi Stadium, Air India will hope for big fans support, which will motivate them as a home advantage and also a good win in the last match will be a big morale booster for the team to Godfrey Perrira's team. Combination of strikers Henry Ezeh and Junior will give East Bengal some tense moments.

In the last six matches between the two teams in I League Kingfisher East Bengal have won five including three away matches while the other going in favour of Air India.

Head to Head in I League/NFL

Total Matches - 20
WIN :- Air India - 4 : 10 East Bengal
Drawn :- 6
GOALS :- Air India 16 : 29 East Bengal

Highest Margin of Victory of East Bengal against Air India was 6-1 on 29th Dcember 2010. Saumik Dey, Robin Singh, Tolgay Ozbey-2, Mehtab Hossein, Ravinder Singh scored for East Bengal while Eric reduced the margin for Air India.

East Bengal have done a domestic league unbeaten record of 26 matches in a calender year started from January 2012. East Bengal won 22 matches and drew 4 in this 26 matches unbeatn run. But East Bengal still 14 Match unbeaten in 2012-13 Season started from August with IFA CFL Premier League against Eastern Railway.

In a calener year till today East Bengal played 42 matches including AFC Cup which they lost all 6 matches. But in domestic Tournaments like IFA CFL, IFA Shield, Fed Cup, I-League Morgan's boys performances is well. They won 24 matches, Drew 8 and lost 10 matches so far in 42 calender year matches.

08.11.2012: PRESS RELEASE : I-LEAGUE 5th ROUND : Mohun Bagan to face ONGC in Away at Delhi

On paper and current form the 5th round I-league match between Mohun Bagan vs ONGC at the Nehru stadium, Delhi on Friday at 2p.m. is a clash of unequal teams. Bagan have won two successive matches, have a star-studded team, found the right rhythm and combination and ace striker Odafe Onyeka Okolie is in good nick having scored a hat trick last Sunday in their 3-1 victory over Sporting Clube d Goa. This was Odafe's 12th hat-trick in the National Football/I-League.

Bagan on six points from four matches is keen to notch up their third successive win. In contrast ONGC playing their third match in Delhi is struggling at the bottom of the table with just one point from four matches. ONGC's coach Subrata Bhattacharya (Jr.) is relieved that nippy roving striker Eric P. Brown of Liberian descent is back after a one match suspension. Noted for his swerving and accurate free kicks, Brown could be ONGC's trump card. ONGC will rely on him and their Japanese recruit Yusa Katsumi to initiate attacks, along with ex-international Jatin Bisht.

In their last two matches ONGC has drawn 1-1 with Prayag United and lost 2-4 to Air India. They have played well in patches but their defence has been error prone and goalkeeper Bilfrang Nazary conceded two soft goals in the defeat against Air India. Coach Bhattacharya will pack his midfield and rely on quick counter attacks to unsettle Bagan.

However the most crucial factor in the match is how the ONGC defenders Hasan Mohammed Adeola of Nigeria and either Sandeep Sangha or Sikkim's Robin Gurung if he has recovered from injury can cope with the thrust and goal scoring ability of Odafe.

Mridul Banerjee, the interim coach of Mohun Bagan has forged a winning combination. He is likely to opt for a 4-5-1 system, with Syed Rahim Nabi and Snehashish Chakraborty providing thrust on the flanks. Stanley Okoroigwe and Denson Devdas provide solidity and clever passing from central midfield. Bagan's only worry is the injury to playmaker Manish Mathani. If he remains unfit, coach Mridul may have to revamp his side.

Bagan's defence is solid, with both international right back Nirmal Chettri and left back Biswajit Saha providing good cover and thrust whilst overlapping. Central defenders Aibor Khongjee and Celestine Echezona are tackling and combining well in central defence.

Mridul Banerjee has changed Bagan's approach play. They now play a fluid, short-passing game, with constant interchanging of positions, the Indian version of tiki taka. If Bagan get into their stride early in the match, they will be both a delight to watch and should emerge comfortable victors.

08.11.2012: PFC RELEASE : I-LEAGUE 5th ROUND : Pune FC seek a change in fortunes against Indian Arrows

Pune FC have a firm eye on getting back to winning ways when they take on Pailan Arrows in an I-league 2012-13 Round-5 clash at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata, on Friday. Having struck a purple patch in their campaign, despite dominating performances in the last two matches, Pune FC faces a side that is unbeaten this season. So far, Arrows have stretched their run to nine matches in all competitions.

With a job on hand, Coach Derrick Perreira adds,"They (Arrows) are a young side and have their own style in play. So far they have done well." Keeping aside the two back-to-back reverses, Pune FC will draw their confidence from the unbeaten track record they have against the AIFF developmental side. In 5 encounters, Pune FC boasts of 2 wins and 3 draws. In fact, both encounters in Kolkata have ended 1-1.

"Our job is to get on and forget the past. We are up against good hard working youngsters and we need to counter them," explains the coach, after completing a pre-match session in the afternoon. Purely 'unlucky' to not earn a point from their previous matches, Pune FC will also be looking at getting back to scoring ways. "I believe in my side and the boys themselves are all eager to get going,” the Coach adds.

Pune FC has to its advantage its foreign-players to rely on. In fact, Pune FC's scorers against Arrows have always been overseas players. For the 2.00pm kick off game, Pune FC has travelled with the same squad that played Churchill Brothers at Pune. The only exclusion is defender Caitano Costa, who is serving a one-match suspension after he was shown the red card in the home game.

Costa's place has been taken by Zohmingliana Ralte. In fact, Pune FC have also included striker Jeje Lalpekhlua in the squad, with Coach Derrick Perreira keeping his options open until the day of the match with his final 18. Jeje missed the last match due to an Achilles tendon and has recovered to make the trip to Kolkata.

Jeje, in fact, has been an ex-Arrow (for a year on loan) and will certainly be gunning to put one over several of his Junior India team-mates, where he was under current Arrows coach Arthur Papas in the AFC Under-22 Championship. The one fact Jeje, along with his striker partners James Moga and Subash Singh, will want to exploit is Arrows defence. Despite winning, Arrows has conceded in each of their 7 games this season barring the last two that ended goalless.

Pune FC defence, meanwhile, have their job cut out and will be up against current I-League Indian top-scorer Holicharan Narzary who has scored 6 goals for Arrows in the season so far. Narzary is normally supported by the Indian international George Alwyn from behind. Interestingly, the Arrows team boasts of two familiar Pune FC faces- midfielder Dhanpal Ganesan and goalkeeper Poirei. Ganeshan is on loan, while the custodian is Arrows No. 1 choice.

For Pune FC the game Friday is their second away game having travelled to the city 10 days back.

08.11.2012: I-LEAGUE 5th ROUND PREVIEW : Salgaocar to face Churchill Brothers at Goa whil Mumbai FC to face Sporting GOa in Pune

Round five of the I League is on the horizon with some sumptuous flavour of football feast on offer. Titans will collide, minnows will make their stand against the giants and some will save their breather to survive as the next set of matches is going to be contested.

Salgaocar vs Churchill Brothers

The biggest tie on offer is the collision of two former I League champions as the Goan giants square off when Salgaocar host Churchill Brothers. Till now the road has been smooth for Churchill Brothers who are keeping the heat on the early pacesetters Dempo. With nine points from four matches, Churchill are second with nine points.

Every single incumbent challenge have been dealt by Churchill with Beto being the man with the golden gun exibhiting some inspirational performances from the midfield. Salgaocar on the other hand found the road more tumultuous. After just one win, Salgaocar are in the 9th position with 5 points in their bank.

The news of Karim Bencherifa's departure to Mohun Bagan came as a bolt from the blue for the Salgaocar supporters. The imminent appointment of David Booth will have to do for the time being as they look to negotiate against their local rivals Churchill. Thus the match is finely poised to be a cracker for the current weekend.

Mumbai Fc vs Sporting Goa

The course of the season is gradually beginning to desing a pattern. With the top teams gaining the necessary momentum to mount a title challenge, some teams are finding it hard to survive within the glitz and glamour of the euphoria. Two such teams will decide their fate as both look to lease some life in their ailing campaign as the rock bottom team of the league Mumbai Fc plays host to a weak Sporting Clube De Goa side who are just three points clear of the dropzone.

The Mumbai team have suffered defeats in each of their four matches so far with Abhishek Yadav misfiring. Sharath have been a major disappointment between the posts while the defence have been conceding goals. While the return of Evans Quao will be a boost for the home side, the defence still needs to regroup against the dangerous looking attacking arsenals of Sporting Clube De Goa.

Sporting will be looking for a response after their 3-1 drubbing at the hands of Mohun Bagan. The combination of Opara and Yakubu have failed to produce the necessary fireworks in front of the goal. Thus for both the sides, it would be a case of finding the taste of victory back.

R-6



ROUND - 6



16.11.2012: East Bengal to play against churchill Brothers in Away tomorrow in 6th Round

After a 3-0 win against Air India in 5th Round away match, East Bengal is all set the maintain their victory trail when they clash with second placed Churchill Brothers in their sixth round clash at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium at Margao tomorrow.The match is scheduled to kick off under lights at 5.30 pm. In 2012 calender year East Bengal is still unbeaten in last 27 domestic top Tournament matches.

Currenly 3rd placed East Bengal who already have 11 points in their kitty will put pressure on the pole position if they collect all three points from the away match against 2nd spot Churchill who bagged 12 points from 5 outings. The teams had earlier met in the Federation Cup Semi Final at Siliguri this season on 27th Sept where they beat Subhash Bhowmick's Churchill Brothers 1-0. East Bengal goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal who has still not recovered from the injury he suffered in the third round clash with Pune FC.

In all over head to head encounters between the two in I-League / NFL, East Bengal won 10 times while Churchill won 12 times and rest 8 matches ended draw. East Bengal in last I-League where they made 1-1 in 1st leg and lost 0-1 to Churchill in 2nd leg but Churchill Brothers is unbeatabl by East Bengal in last five I-League meetings.

Churchill Brothers have a good track record in their 15 home natches all over against East Bengal where they won 8 matches lost 2 matches and drew 5 matches where they were unbeaten in last 6 home matches against East Bengal. In their last match in 5th round Churchill beat Salgaocar 2-1.

Odafa Okolie with 10 goals for Churchill Brothers and Alvito D'Cunha with 5 goals for Kingfisher East Bengal are the the leading scorers in respect of the respective teams in matches between them. Yusif Yakubu is the only player who has scored for both the sides against each other. Yakubu scored 4 goals overall.

KEY PLAYER : Churchill Brothers - Akram Mograbi : The foreign striker have a good ebility to score from out side and in side opppnent box. The player scored a hattrick against ONGC and got the Man of the match award for two times out of total 3 times for Churchill in last 5 matches. He score 4 goals so far for Churchill in I-League.

KEY PLAYER : East Bengal - Chidi Edeh : The foreign striker scored 2 goals for East Bengal so far but bagged 2 times Man of the match award for East Bengal out of their 4 times award upto 5th Round of I-League.



16.11.2012: Karim's Mohun Bagan to play against former Karim's Salgaocar at Salt Lake Stadium..

AIFF MEDIA: One name is common to the opponents - host Mohun Bagan and visitor Salgaocar SC - meeting in the Saturday's sixth round I-League match at Kolkata's Salt Lake Stadium.

The name of Moroccan coach Karim Bencherifa dominated the discussion of both the teams ahead of their crucial match. Though the coach will not be present in person for either of the sides in the upcoming match but his influence as the former Salgaocar coach and the future incumbent of Mohun Bagan remained a dominant topic on the day of the preview.

"Karim did a good job with the side in the past two seasons. But it is a different situation having taken the charge of the team midway," said Englishman David Booth, who took up the charge of Salgaocar after Karim left it last month. Booth is looking to rearrange the former champion from Goa and set them on a winning course.

The team has managed to do moderately in the last five rounds where it could win just one, drew twice and lost the remainder of the matches. With five points, which put them in the ninth position in the current standings, Booth is aware of the magnitude of the rebuilding process that he needs to do for Salgaocar.

Salgaocar has no big worries with injuries or suspensions but one of its foreign recruits Angel Guiardo has gone back to Philippines on a call from the national squad. The rest of the three foreigners - Luciano Sabrosa, Quinton Jacobs and Sean Rooney - will be there in Booth's roster.

Mohun Bagan, which has not lost a match after their successive defeats in the first two rounds, will be eager to get back to winning form following its goalless draw against ONGC FC in the previous round.

Mohun Bagan has seven points from its five outings and their stand-in coach Mridul Banerjee expected the team to fare well against Salgaocar. "Our team has gained the rhythm after initial setbacks and we hope to continue the rhythm against Salgaocar," Banerjee said.

The former international, who with the support of the team's Nigerian striker Okolie Odafa, has stemmed the flow of losses is expected to use the same defensive format of 4-4-1-1 against a strong opponent like Salgaocar. Odafa is expected to remain the lone striker while a widely spreads out midfield - which may have the likes of Rahim Nabi, Jewel Raja, Denson Devadas and Stanley Okoroigwe - will assist the Nigerian goal poacher.

Midfielder Manish Mathani and goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya are uncertain with injury while Australian striker Tolgay Ozbey is recuperating from a knee surgery in his own country. With most of his key players available Mridul Banerjee will be looking to end with a win before Karim Bencherifa takes over Mohun Bagan as the chief coach ahead of the next round.



15.11.2012: PRESS RELEASE : ONGC VS DEMPO : Oozing with confidence holders Dempo Sports Club (Goa) take on ONGC in a sixth round I-League match at the Ambedkar Stadium. In the 6th I-League, Dempo is at present topping the table with 13 points from five matches. In contrast ONGC is amongst the bottom placed teams on two points from five matches. So Dempo, thrice I-League winners, are favourites to take three points.




However in Delhi, ONGC has acquired a minor reputation as a giant killer. They led high-flying Prayag United 1-0 before conceding a last minute equalizer. Last Friday they foiled the rampaging Odafe Onyeka Okolie and held Mohun Bagan to a goalless draw. Coach Subrata Bhattacharya (Jr) is satisfied with the shape of his team and defensive organisation but feels there is a distinct weakness in the scoring area. ONGC rely a lot on the exciting Liberian Eric P. Brown and the roving Japanese attacking midfielder Yusa Katsumi for goals.

But scoring goals against Dempo is not easy. Their international goalkeeper Subashish Roy Chowdhury is in good form and was man of the match in the 2-1 win against United Sikkim FC. The defence is also compact with ex-international Mahesh Gawli, Cresan Antao and Debabrata Roy in commanding form.

Dempo has the most exciting quartet of midfielders in the country. Internationals Anthony Pereira on the right and Clifford Miranda on the left provide thrust on the flanks, accurate crosses and sound work rate. Recently retired international midfielder Climax Lawrence is the playmaker and he is ably supported by the midfield dynamo Peter Carvalho, man of the match in the last two rounds.

It is in midfield that Dempo could over run ONGC unless Brown, Katsumi and ex-international Jatin Bisht will have to work over time to curb the champions' free-flowing passing game. Establishing midfield supremacy will be the decisive factor in this match.

Even though Dempo has lost their prolific striker Ranti Martins, transferred to Prayag united this season they are still formidable upfront. Their Japanese recruit from Salgaocar, Ryuji Sueoka, is a clever finisher and is their top scorer so far with six goals from five matches. He is ably supported by the bustling Nigerian Koko Sakibo or international Joaquim Abranches. It is to be seen if coach Armando Colaco uses their high profile English striker Rohan Ricketts in this match. Rickets has so far only played occasionally as a substitute. ONGC's defence ably led by Nigerian Hassan Mohammed Adeola and Robin Gurung will have to be alert to block Dempo's variety of attacking moves.

Dempo's clever pass and move brand of possession football will be seen in Delhi after three years. They last played here in the 2009 Durand tournament, losing in the semi finals to Churchill Brothers. As the festive season has just got over a good crowd is expected to witness the champion club of India at the Ambedkar stadium.

Both teams had their practice session this morning at the venue. 16 November Fixtures: ONGC vs Dempo SC at Ambedkar stadium, Delhi at 2.3O p.m.