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I-League Round 12: Rangdajied United Ready For The Bagan Challenge.

30.11.2013 : KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE

RUFC PRESS RELEASE : Come Sunday and Rangdajied United FC will be up against the Kolkata Giants, Mohun Bagan, at the Salt Lake Stadium. Since upgrading the squad, Rangdajied United had back-to-back draws against Shillong Lajong and Mumbai FC, but are still looking for their first win in the I-League. With just 5 draws from 10 matches, the 2nd Division champions rest at the bottom of the table with 5 points.

On the other hand, the Mariners are better placed than their Meghalaya counterpart at 9 with 11 points, courtesy of the 3 wins and 2 draws. But the fact that the National Clubs have not won since their 1-0 win against Mumbai FC on October 26 should come as a relieve for the Shillong side.

For Rangdajied, Subrata Paul will once again guard the goal, aided in the central defence by the experience Gouramangi Singh and Lamine Tamba. Thomas Saikhom and Yohei Iwasaki, who have extremely been doing well, will feature on either side of the backline.

The central-midfield will have the experience Tomba Singh taking charge alone with the skipper Eugeneson Lyngdoh. With both the players not 100 percent fit, this is one area that coach Santosh Kashyap will be worried about. Tomba, having featured in Rangdajied's last two outings, hasn't played full 90 minutes in either of them. Eugene however got to play the full match against Mumbai FC.

It will be interesting to see how the midfield shapes up in such crucial encounter like that of Mohun Bagan, where the midfield will hold the key. Kashyap will have Bhola Prasad and Bansharai Sunn as other options in the middle.

David Ngaihte, as usual, will look to unsettle the Mohun Bagan defence from the left side of the park while Joy Chandra will look to do the same from the right. For Rangdajied to flourish, these two players will have to be at their top. In most of the goals scored till now, the Rangdajied wingers have contribution to it.

Up front, North Korean international Kim Song Yong will once again have a go at the rival's goal. Manandeep Singh, who gave the team a lead against Mumbai FC, is likely to partner him unless Edmar Figuiera recovers from his groin injuy. T.Lalnunpuia, who has had a great outing till now will also be available for the match.

I-League Round 12: Pune FC look to improve form, take on United SC.

21.11.2013 : KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE

PFC PRESS RELEASE : Pune FC is eager to add a winning chapter to their current form when they host United SC in an I-League Round 12 encounter at Shree Shivchhatrapati Sports Complex, Mhalunge-Balewadi in Pune. Back in familiar surrounds, Pune FC over the past two rounds locked out with back-to-back away draws (v/s Salgaocar FC and Dempo SC) in tough conditions. The results have made an effect on Pune FC's standings after working hard to line up a chance to steer into clear leadership.

Pune FC Coach, Mike Snoei, said: "Sometimes you need to be content with one point and look forward to play better than the last game."

The home game on the morrow, thus, turns out to be important, purely with an eye on independent leadership. Currently Pune FC (18 points) shares a three-way tie, along with Salgaocar FC and Bengaluru FC, for the top-spot. However, by virtue of goal difference Pune FC drops down to third rank on the League table. Having missed out on top-spot opportunity twice, Pune FC with consecutive home games in the schedule will want to make the most of the home support and provide reason enough to cheer.

The fact that Pune FC has won all four home games this season while keeping clean sheets, is enough motivation for them to look ahead to when up against their Kolkata rivals. Moreover, Pune FC have never lost to the visitors in an I-League home encounter over four seasons having logged three wins and a draw. Adds Coach, "Our ambition is to win, play well and continue to push ourselves. I am looking forward to the game. The game will be also against my country man (Eelco Schattorie)."

With a combination of results giving both teams, including fourth placed United SC (16 points), a chance to top the table, as the top-4 are separated with only two points, makes this weekend fixture crucial. The visitors come into the game after a good run of results. Two wins and a draw helped them secure 7 points from the last three games compared to Pune FC who earned 5 points (1W-2D-0L).

United SC, however, started the season suffering financial problems. But, the Kolkata side has soldiered on to a respectable place in the league, in-spite of only commencing pre-season in September. Despite many high-profile players departing over the summer, United SC have managed to retain a few top players while adding another few.

At the heart of the visitor's team is their foreign quartet. Upfront, a total of nine goals have been contributed by Nigerian Ranti Martins (4) and Liberian Eric Brown (5). The duo will definitely keep the Pune FC defense on their toes. At the back, Nigerian Bello Rasaq and new signing, Syrian Hasan Moustafa have been marshalling the defense.

Many of their key Indian players continue to provide the consistency in their playing style that Coach Schattorie has established with the likes of the hugely experienced defender and captain Deepak Mandal, with fellow defenders Dhanachandra Singh and Anupam Sarkar forming the team's rearguard.

The opponents will be missing the services of experienced custodian Sangram Mukherjee and will possibly have young Ishan Debnath starting in the goal. With playmaker and long-serving Lalkamal Bhowmick too missing, the likes of Souvik Chakrabarti, K Asif, Snehasis Chakraborty and ex-Pune FC midfielder Baldeep Singh are expected to fill in.

Up-front, the pacy attacker C.K. Vineeth has been complimenting Ranti, while the talented Mohammed Rafique offers another option.

On the Pune FC team news front, defender Denechandra Meitei and medio Dhanpal Ganesh have been added to the eighteen member squad in place of Othallo Tabia and Srikanth Ramu. Overall both teams have faced each other 14 times in all competitions, with United SC winning six games. On the other hand, Pune FC has logged four wins with three of them coming at Balewadi.

For Pune FC, midfielders Arata Izumi (3 goals), Shanmugam Venkatesh (1), Douhou Pierre (1) and defender Othallo Tabia (1) have all scored in the past against the visitors. On the other hand, for United SC, Vineeth and Ranti have each netted once against Pune FC.

I-League Round 12: Bengaluru FC look to keep momentum going.

30.11.2013 : KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE

BFC PRESS RELEASE : Filled with a sense of renewed confidence after eking out a fantastic win at Salgaocar last week, Bengaluru FC will look to keep the momentum going when they clash with sixth-placed Shillong Lajong at the Bangalore Football Stadium on Sunday.

Though 10 game weeks is a good indication about how a team would look through the season, Westwood isn't making much of Bengaluru FC's position on the table. "We are not expected to win the League. Success is an added bonus for us. That said, we play every game and cup wanting to win it."

Bengaluru FC have a bit of a Shillong touch to themselves in assistant coach Pradhyum Reddy - who led Lajong to I-League promotion in 2011-and midfielder John Menyongar. But Westwood said Reddy's presence is an advantage irrespective of who the opponents are. "We don't need a special occasion to realise the advantage we have with him on our team. He knows Indian football really well and it always helps," said Westwood.

Lajong, meanwhile, are coming into the game on the back of a six-game unbeaten streak, a pattern that coach Thangboi Singto says will hold his team in good stead for the big game against Bengaluru. "Bengaluru FC are doing well and the win over Salgaocar will only work as extra motivation for them. However, we have been unbeaten in six games and believe in ourselves," said Singto.

In Trinidad & Tobago striker Cornell Glenn, Shillong Lajong have the League's top scorer and they will be banking on him to fire against a team whose home record has no blemish of a loss. Westwood, on the other hand, will be pleased that both goals against Salgaocar came from first time scorers this season, easing central striker Sean Rooney of pressure. "Shillong havenít been beaten in six games and pose a good threat from Glenn. It should be a good, entertaining game,"said Westwood.