Churchill cannot afford to drop points against spirited HAL

Margao, Jan 13 (PTI) Churchill Brothers will be lookingto gain full points against a spirited HAL when the two teamsmeet each in the ninth round of the I-League at the NehruStadium here tomorrow.

With four draws and a loss against Salgaocar, ChurchillBrothers, who are placed third with 13 points, have driftedfurther away from table toppers East Bengal (on 21 points) andthey cannot afford to drop any more point which will makethings difficult for them.

Just when Churchill were looking to settle down and keeptheir winning momentum going, they got a rude shock when theylost their talismanic striker Odafe Okolie early in their lastmatch against Salgaocar, which they lost 3-4.

Although Odafe''s absence will be felt tomorrow, ChurchillBrothers coach Vincent Subramaniam will depend on the duoKayne Vincent and Binesh Balan.

"It''s a home match and we cannot afford to lose as a losstomorrow will demoralise the spirit of our boys who areplaying well as a team at present," stated Subramanian.

HAL, who have eight points -- the same as Pune FC, MohunBagan, JCT and AIFF XI, are placed on seventh position abovetheir rivals because of better goal difference.

Skipper Xavier Vijaykumar is the most influential playerof the team and now is in his 10th year of competitivefootball.

Former India International forward RC Prakash will beanother key player to look out for.

Nigerian striker Abdulla Hamza will also have theresponsibility to score goals for the team.

HAL coach Thaygaraj said Churchill Brothers are a goodside and it will be difficult to beat them at home.

"Ours is a mixture of youth and experience. James Singhwill not play tomorrow due to injury but we have a player toreplace him. We have come prepared to face them and will behappy if we get one point," stated Thaygaraj. PTI MCS ABCSSC

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