Chirag Kerala up against East Bengal
Chirag United Kerala will face Kingfisher East Bengal in their first home match at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, Kochi in the eleventh round of I-League 2011-12 on Friday.
The visiting East Bengal remain strong contenders for this season's title race and are currently third position with 20 points from 10 games and are three points behind the leaders. An away win against Chirag will take them level on points with current leaders Churchill Brothers SC, who lost 2-0 to Pune FC on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Chirag Kerala look to have found some form in recent weeks, garnering five points from the last four rounds, including a 2-1 win against Prayag United at Trivandrum last week. They are currently eleventh with eight points from 10 matches.
Given his side's recent hot streak, Chirag coach Nizam Packeer Ali is optimistic of his charges' chances against the mighty East Bengal, saying: “The team is brimming with confidence after defeating Prayag in the last match and he expects a lot from his players this week also.”
Chirag star players Ajayan along with David Sunday and Anil Kumar are available for the match.
East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan looks set to rely on both Tolgay Ozbey and Baljit Sahni to break the solid defence of Chirag Kerala which features oversees stars Charles Dzisah and Isaac Boakye.
Air India not to take Pailan Arrows lightly
Barring an injury scare to defender Kali Alaudeen, Air India have the luxury of choosing from their entire squad ahead of Friday's clash with Pailan Arrows at the Balewadi Sports Complex.
“Kali has little bit of pain, but we are not pressing any panic button. We will take a call on him only tomorrow (Friday),” Air India coach Santosh Kashyap said on Thursday after team practice.
Following back-to-back away wins in Goa, Air India are a side that exudes confidence having installed itself firmly in the top 10 of this season's I-League.
“The boys are in a very good mood. Wins against Sporting Clube de Goa and Dempo have done a world of good to their confidence and it gives me hope that we will secure full points from tomorrow’s clash,” said Kashyap.
Air India, who are currently seventh, two points behind Pune FC with a game in hand, appear to be favourites ahead of the game, given that the Pailan Arrows are yet to register first win of the season.
“They have some good players and have done well in the recent past. Rankings are one thing, but they have improved a lot since the season began so we will be careful,” Kashyap explained.