Churchill face uphill task vs Punjab for I-League title

Churchill Brothers need more than a victory to clinch their third I-League title when they face RoundGlass Punjab in the final match-day of the tournament here on Saturday.

The race for the I-League will come to an intense finish as three teams — Gokulam Kerala, Churchill Brothers, and TRAU — are still battling for the title after 14 rounds. All three sides have 26 points and are only differentiated by their head-to-head results. At one stage during the season, it seemed like Churchill Brothers would run away with the title.

However, inconsistent performances have pegged them back, and now the Red Machines not only need a victory but are dependent on Gokulam-TRAU result to win the title. While all three teams sit equal on points, they trail Gokulam head to head (3-2 win, 3-0 loss vs GKFC) and TRAU on overall goal difference.

So, the most realistic equation for Churchill lifting the trophy is to beat Punjab while praying the other game in Kolkata between Gokulam and TRAU ends in a tie. “We are conscious of what we need to do to win the I-League. Our goal is to beat Punjab. In the meanwhile, we will hope for a draw in the other fixture,” head coach Fernando Varela said at the pre-match press conference.

“Against TRAU, I think we did everything possible to win. We came back stronger from the previous defeat. It was one of the best games we played. We showed great spirit, created many chances to score but unfortunately, we could not win.”