Pune, Apr 12 UNI | 3 months ago

Mumbai FC may have stayed away from relegation zone but the danger of dropping down into the Second Division still looms large as they take on fellow-strugglers Churchill Brothers SC in the Round 25 match of the Airtel I-League at the Balewadi Sports Complex stadium here tomorrow.

Both Khalid Jamil and Mariano Dias, the respective coaches of Mumbai FC and Churchill are walking on a tight rope trying to prevent their team from falling in the drop zone.

While Mumbai will be playing its penultimate match of this season's I-League, Churchill still has four matches to go. That is pretty much strong rope on which Dias can hope the team will cling on to before moving out of the danger.

Mumbai FC is currently placed No 8 with 25 points from 22 matches, while Churchill has 19 points from 20 matches and is at No 12, second from the bottom.

Mohammedan Sporting Club, with 18 points from 21 matches lay at the bottom of the heap.

Having drawn 1-1 against Dempo SC in an away match on the back of scoring 2-1 away win against Shillong Lajong FC, Mumbai FC looks to be a settled side, but only two games remain for them to redeem this season.

Mumbai has firepower in the form of Yusif Yakubu and Ebi Sukore, but they have shown flashes of brilliance only in patches. Injury to NP Pradeep is also a concern and it remains to be seen whether Jamil is confident enough to field Pradeep in the first eleven after the midfielder was substituted in the 16th minute in the Dempo match.

The late equaliser from Alfred Jaryan had rescued Jamil's side after the coach preferred to stick to the winning combination the one which started against Shillong Lajong.

As for Churchill Brothers, Anthony Wolfe's late strike saved them from drawing a blank in the Goan Derby against Sporting Clube de Goa and they will hope to get the best out of him on the morrow.

Churchill, who are playing in the AFC Cup with some inspiring results, will hope that some of the continental luck rubs them off in the I-League too. They wouldn't want to be the first defending champion to get relegated in the next season.

(Posted on 12-04-2014)