Sabtu, 29 September 2012

34th Federation Cup - Final Preview: East Bengal vs Dempo tonight!

The final of the 34th edition of the Federation Cup will be played tonight between Kolkata's East Bengal Club and Dempo SC of Goa at the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri. The match will be between two of India's best club sides in recent years and a lot is expected from such a title clash.

Dempo SC having won the NFL/I-League title five times in the last eight years, while East Bengal often have finished runners-up in the I-League in recent times and two Federation Cup titles are to their name with this being their fourth straight final.

As these two clubs renew the Bengal vs Goa rivalry, East Bengal will have a distinct advantage in the crowd support at the Kanchenjunga Stadium which will root for the red-and-gold as a capacity crowd is expected for the final.

Both the coaches - Trevor James Morgan and Armando Colaco - heaped praise on each other for the "stability" of their respective sides and were almost unanimous in acknowledging that there were no clear favourites in the upcoming duel.

Dempo played with only one foreigner – Nigerian Koko Sakibo – in the semifinal against Salgaocar and is expected to bank on its indigenous talent in the final too though Japanese midfielder Ryuji Sueoka, who is recovering from fever, may make a return to the starting eleven if declared fit. "I don't think football depends on one player. We play as a team and will continue to do so in the final tomorrow," Armando said when asked about the absence of Sueoka.

"We get there and give our best. None of the sides can confidently say it is going to win. If we win we will dedicate the crown to the memory of (Cristiano) Junior," Armando said referring to the on-field death of the Brazilian striker when Dempo won their only Fed Cup title in 2004. "East Bengal cannot be underdog on its home soil. They have a good midfield and so do we. So one can expect creative approach from both the sides," Armando added.

"Right across the midfield Dempo is very creative. We have to raise our game to the level to that level to win," Morgan said after his team's practice. When asked about how he will tackle the suspension of his two regular central defenders – Uga Okpara and Gurwinder Singh – the East Bengal coach said he will find the right replacements with Raju Gaikwad and Arnab Mondal set to take their places though they had their problems in the match against Kalighat Milan Sangha.

The East Bengal coach admitted that his team may have been scrappy in the group league stage but quickly added that the side played really well in the semifinals to beat Churchill Brothers. "Football does not work that way, it is the win that matters. Tomorrow (Sunday) will be a new game and we will approach it accordingly," Morgan said.

The match will kick-off at 6:30 pm and it will be shown live on DD Sports.

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