Dempo favourites against Mahindra in I-League clash


Margao : Current I-League football leaders Dempo Sports Club, who have looked unbeatable at home all season, will start as strong favourites in their clash against Mahindra United despite the injury to stopper-back John Dias.

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A win will take Dempo further ahead, while Mahindra need a win to bring to the top three for the first time.

Despite their indifferent form in the ongoing I-League, thus far, Mahindra United coach Derrick Pereira believes they can get something out of their eighth round clash with league leaders Dempo at Nehru Stadium (Goa) on Friday.

The victory over Kingfisher East Bengal in the last match has given Derrick the confidence as he prepares to mastermind another victory at a venue he cherishes the most. “We’ve always enjoyed playing in Goa,” admits Derrick.

Despite Derrick’s confidence, Mahindra United (10 points), pegged behind Dempo, JCT and Churchill Bros, will have a mountain to climb against the defending champions especially with wingers – K Ajayan and Sushant Matthew – suspended for Friday’s battle.

Harpreet Singh and Izumi Arata are expected to replace the suspended duo.

“I am confident we can take something out of the game. It is very important for us to continue with our winning ways,” says the Mahindra coach.

Dempo have 17 points, and have looked strong all through the season. Their coach Armando Colaco sounded confident despite injury to stopper-back John Dias, who is likely to miss the game.

“We have enough in reserves,” says Dempo coach Colaco. Dominic Noronha is expected to be picked from the reserves into the starting eleven as the youngster partners Mahesh Gawli for the first time this season.

Apart from the straight-forward change in defence, Armando Colaco is unlikely to change the winning combination that demolished Air India 4-1 in Mumbai.