Vasco: Churchill Brothers and Pune FC go head-to-head in a crucial I-League clash that will possibly decide their own title ambitions at the Tilak Maidan, Vasco, on Friday.
Churchill Brothers lead the I-League table with 44 points from 21 matches and know that a win against Pune FC will put them in the driver's seat with just four more matches to be played.
Pune FC are placed third with 37 points from 20 matches, and although they are seven points behind Churchill Brothers, coach Derrick Pereira knows that a win will cut the deficit down to four points and they will still have a match in hand. "This match will be the key. Anything can happen in the title race," said Pereira.
Pune FC have been solid in their performances and Pereira believes his team will need another superb performance to tame Churchill in their own den "Churchill have some tough games including Mohun Bagan and Dempo. If we can defeat them on Friday, we can start dreaming," said Pereira, who will miss Japanese midfielder Izumi Arata through suspension.
"I have noticed over the years that you have to work hard and if you do that sincerely, results will follow. At Pune FC, the management have been supportive and pushing us for results," he said.
Churchill Brothers are equally determined to surge ahead in the title race. "This is a do-or-die match for us. A win will be excellent. I hope we can do just that," said Technical Director Subhash Bhowmick.
Churchill rested seven players for the AFC Cup clash against Singapore Armed Forces early this week and all of the players, except for Brazilian midfielder Beto, are expected to return to the field. "The boys are in top gear. I am sure they will deliver," said Bhowmick.