The tenth round of I-League 2011-12 will witness one of the upcoming rivalries in Indian football as Kerala’s Chirag United and Kolkata’s Prayag United go head-to-head at the University Stadium, Trivandrum on Saturday (December 17).
Nothing less than a win would be on the agenda of either the clubs as they face each other for the first time in the League this season.
Chirag on Wednesday were downed by Churchill Brothers, but the fact that the team played their best football of the season yet in the first 45 minutes would be encouraging for Nizam Packeer Ali. But he will also know that points are what really matters and his team has got just five from nine matches and are settled at the 12th spot with relegation a real possibility if things continue the way as it is now.
Ali has several defensive worries as central defender Charles Dzisah looked out of shape in the last match and right back Sherin Sam committed a lot of errors, including one that led to a Churchill goal.
In the midfield, captain Ajayan, Saleel, Vineeth and Asif worked well in the previous matches. Anil Kumar seems to have regained his form from last season, while David Sunday needs to improve on his finishing skills in front of the goal.
Meanwhile, Prayag are flying high at the fifth position in the Lague table with four wins and are the only team left unbeaten in the league now. They have a total of 17 points in their account, four behind the leaders Dempo SC who lost to East Bengal in the last round.
The Prayag line up will have some familiar faces for the home crowd in Chinta Chandrasekhar, former Viva Kerala captain Bello Razaq and Justin Stephen. The inspirational Denson Devadas is also another local boy who will take the field; and not to forget the Prayag attack is led by Joshmiar da Silva Martins and Yusif Yakubu who has six goals to his name already in the season.
Prayag United will miss their captain Lalkamal Bhomwik who picked up an injury in practise and couldn’t recover in time for the match. Jayanta Sen is expected to take his place in the starting eleven.
The kick-off is slated for 3.30pm.