PJN STADIUM FATORDA
3:30 P.M, LIVE ON TEN ACTION
After scoring an important away win over Mumbai FC, Dempo take on Derrick Pereira’s Pune FC in an important Round 19 clash that could have major repercussions on the title race. With East Bengal and Mohun Bagan squaring up against each other in the Kolkata derby and Churchill taking on Mumbai FC in other matches, this could be the week when the title race hots up.
Dempo scored an important 2-0 away win over Mumbai FC, courtesy a Ranti Martins brace moving them six points clear of East Bengal. A win over Derrick Pereira’s Pune FC however could put them in pole position for the title specially with East Bengal and Mohun Bagan clashing in a high voltage game this afternoon. However the game against Pune FC, who have traditionally played very well in Goa, will not be easy for Dempo. The Red Lizards have won two of their three games in Goa suffering a lone loss against Sporting Clube de Goa in their previous match. They beat Salgaocar Sports Club 3-1 and Churchill Brothers 2-0 in their previous games in Goa. Skipper Manjdou Keita has been in Red hot form scoring four goals at Fatorda in three games including a brace against Sporting. Derrick Pereira’s sides were on an amazing 11 match unbeaten run prior to the game against Sporting Clube de Goa, the third best in I-League history. They currently occupy seventh place in the I-League table. They will be without the services of defender Chika Wali who is suspended for this game.
Dempo on the other hand are on a five game unbeaten run, winning four of them. They currently lead the table on 40 points, six ahead of their nearest rivals East Bengal. Coach Mauricio Afonso remains upbeat of his wards putting up a good show on Sunday. “Pune FC are a dangerous side and they have some good players. They will look to bounce back from their loss against Sporting Clube de Goa. However I have faith in my boys and I am confident that they will put up a good show”. Mauricio’s confidence in his boys is understandable. They have chalked out some important away wins in Shillong and Balewadi. The addition of Densill Theobald in midfield has added a new dimension to Dempo’s play. Ranti Martins has found his scoring boots and Koko Sakibo is working the hardest he has ever worked all season. Climax Lawrence too is pulling the strings brilliantly in midfield while Anthony Pereira and Clifford Miranda are feeding good balls for the strikers. Last season Dempo scored a 2-1 win over Pune FC in the corresponding fixture.
Dempo’s defense will welcome Cresson Antao back after he served his one match suspension. Rowilson Rodrigues will make way for him at the centre of defense. Dempo have also registered Japanese Yusuke Kato from Mio Bawaki Shiga and is eligible to play against Pune FC. It is unlikely however that he will start and may have a role to play late in the game as a substitute. The striker is blessed with good pace and has a nice first touch. Samir Naik and Debabrata Roy will man the flanks while Subhasish Roy Chowdhury will stand beneath the cross bar. This promises to be a cracker of a contest. For Dempo Sports Club the countdown has well and truly begun and the march to their fifth title has started.
Man to Watch: Koko Sakibo
Prediction: Dempo 2-0 Pune FC