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Litmus test for Churchill against Gokulam

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Kolkata, Feb 28 (IANS) High-flying Gokulam Kerala aim to extend their winning streak of three games when they take on unbeaten Churchill Brothers on Monday at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan Stadium.

Churchill Brothers won their second match on the trot by beating NEROCA FC 1-0. The victory extended their lead over Real Kashmir on the top of the table to two points. With both Kashmir and Gokulam Kerala hot on their heels, Fernando Varela’s side cannot afford to slip up against the Malabrians and will go for all three points as they try to extend their lead on the top.

“We did a very good job to beat NEROCA. For me, it was one of the best games of the season. We created good chances and were resilient at the back. But now our focus is on the next game against Gokulam Kerala,” said head coach Fernando Varela.

“This game is far too important for us. We are at the top of the table and have everything to lose. They (Gokulam Kerala) are a good team, and they play attacking football with good Indian players as well as foreign players. But, I believe we have the best defence in the league so far. We are ready to fight and get all three points from them,” he added.

Meanwhile, Gokulam are in their best form since the start of the season after they beat Sudeva Delhi with a solitary goal, extending their winning streak to three games. The victory pushed them into the third spot with 16 points from nine matches, three points behind Churchill. If Vincenzo Annese’s side win the match, they could blow the title challenge wide open going into the second phase of the league.

“We dominated the last game, but scored just once. I am happy that we created a lot of chances, and not worried that we missed those chances against Sudeva. For me, it is a positive point. If we keep creating chances and putting pressure on opponents, we will definitely score goals,” said Annese.

“I don’t think we can be too defensive against Churchill Brothers. They have quality players in Luka Majcen, Clayvin Zuniga, Kingsley Fernandes, and Bryce Miranda. They have a huge squad of players, but so do we. We need to focus and play our natural game if we want to win against them,” he further said.




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