Mumbai Kenkre FC will have more to gain from a victory when they face Churchill Brothers at their opponent's ground here at the Tilak Maidan on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.
The hosts, Churchill Brothers are comfortably sitting in mid-table with 26 points from 18 matches. At the same time, there is no real danger of being relegated.
But the scenario is different for Akhil Kothari's men. Of late there has been a noticeable improvement in their performance and now they are just four points behind Rajasthan United FC. If they are able to bridge that gap, they can move out of the relegation zone.
What gives hope to Kenkre coach Kothari is the fact that even though they have only managed two draws in the last five matches, since the turn of the year, his boys have stunned leaders Sreenidi Deccan 2-1 and held joint leaders RoundGlass Punjab FC 3-3.
Had they not squandered chances aplenty, including a penalty, in the last match, the situation would have been already better. The forced substitution of Samandar Ochilov in the first half due to injury harmed the team's chances. Since the coach said there are no injury problems now, he can hope for a better performance from his team on Wednesday.
Talking to the media on Tuesday, Kothari said, "It's an important game for us. Churchill are seasoned opponent but we will be more focused on what we want to achieve from the game tomorrow. We'll try to pick up the maximum points. We have improved on a day-to-day basis from the last time we played Churchill. So in tomorrow's game, we'll be more prepared to face the challenge."
These two teams had played out a 1-1 draw at Cooperage Stadium in Mumbai earlier in the season. Now that Mumbai Kenkre are an improved side, the job will not be easy for Churchill Brothers. Despite having attackers with the calibre of Abdoulaye Sane and Emmanuel Yaghr, the Red Machines have also been guilty of not converting chances.
That has contributed to their mediocre show this season. The last two games have given ample evidence of that. They lost 2-3 to TRAU, then 0-1 to Gokulam Kerala.
That is why Churchill assistant coach Mateus Costa said on match eve, "We played well in the last two matches, but we did not have enough left in us to register a win. So this time we have to go all out for a win."
As it will be Churchill's last match at home this season, he thanked the fans for backing the team and appealed to them to come in large numbers on the morrow and support the team one last time. (ANI)