Viva Kerala, Salgaocar to battle against relegation tomorrow

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Margao, Feb 8( UNI) Debutant Viva Kerala, struggling to survive the relegation threat, hold an edge over bottom-placed Salgaocar Sports Club with whom they will clash in their 16th round ONGC I League championship match to be played at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, here tomorrow.

Both the teams have been inconsistent in their performance in the league.

Kerala, placed ninth in the league table with 12 points from three wins and three draws from 15 outings, are five points ahead of Salgaocar who have seven points from seven drawn matches.

Since the two teams at the bottom will be relegated to the second division, Kerala will have to go all out for a victory in tomorrow's match to increase their points tally.

The visitors also enjoy a psychological advantage over Salgaocar, having beaten them 3-1 in the first leg on home ground.

While Salgaocar is facing certain demotion threat, Air India and Sporting Club de Goa tied with 17 points each, East Bengal (15) and Viva Kerala (12) are also fighting to avoid relegation.

Kerala coach Sridharan said, ''Tomorrow's match is crucial for us and we must win to avoid relegation. If we win, our last two matches against East Bengal and Dempo will be on home ground.'' Salgaocar is a good team but have had no luck this season, Sridharan said.

Defender Tutu George, who was booked twice, will not play for Kerala tomorrow. Kerala will have to depend heavily on Wisdom Abbey and Baba Tunde to deliver the goods.

Salgaocar has not won a single match from its 15 outings so far. Salgaocar has played seven drawn matches and lost eight others. They have scored 18 goals and conceded 32, the highest in the championship so far. They will have to rely on Felix Chimawkou who has scored seven goals which includes a hat-trick, Malswama Tulunga, Boniface Ambani and Milagres Gonsalves.

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