Vasco: Back to winning ways after a disastrous six matches that saw them lose five times, hosts Churchill Brothers will look for their first victory at home when they take on Shillong Lajong in the reverse fixture here on Friday.
It was 2-0 to Lajong when the sides last met in the I-League, but Churchill have come quite a distance since then and apart from holding Kolkata giants East Bengal to a 1-1 draw, they have also etched out their first win against debutants Gokulam FC.
“Now that we have tasted our first victory our boys are confident and are looking forward to keep the winning momentum going,” said coach Alfred Fernandes who also added that the addition of three more players have strengthened the team.
Both the teams have had similar results with one win, draw and a loss in the last three matches, but while Shillong Lajong lie fourth with 10 points, Churchill are fighting relegation with just four points, one notch above Gokulam on last based on goal difference.
But Fernandes believes that the new year has brought a new ray of hope with new faces that has kept up the high-spirit in the team. Players like Kalu Ogba and Koffi Mechac have scored two goals each in two matches and their performances have made Fernandes more confident of the home matches.
“In three home matches, taking nine points will lead us into mid-table and we can even challenge the best,” he said aware that his side have played the least number of matches, seven and three wins from here can take them to sixth, just one point behind Lajong on fourth.
But Lajong unlike their opponents come into this game with a 0-1 loss to Minerva at home and while they are still fourth with 14 points, they have already played 10 matches the highest so far. A win will surely take them closer to the top but a loss will mean teams lower can push them behind.
Assistant coach Alison Kharsyntiew however wasn’t ready to see it this way and opined, “At the moment it is too early to predict anything. We go step by step. Every game, we always go for a win. We always try to keep in the top four.”
Despite all this he too was aware that this rejuvenated Churchill won’t be the same they faced over a month ago. This Churchill team with new arrivals have become a force to be reckoned of and Kharsyntiew accepted,” This will be a different game from the one in Shillong.”