Published: Wed, March 07, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

East Bengal demand proof after Minerva Punjab FC allege approach

East Bengal demand proof after Minerva Punjab FC allege approach

But, of course, they will have to hope that Minerva FC do not pick up a win against Churchill Brothers.

Churchill's standing at the points table has no bearing on how Minerva are preparing for the game, according to Khogen. East Bengal face NEROCA FC in a must-win match in Kolkata. Aizawl win gave the side a little confidence but all that must have evaporated as the side went down to Chennai City FC away.

"I think there's a contrast in the way coaches think and in the way referees think". Then Chencho was fouled a couple of times in the box but they said "no penalty".

"Mohun Bagan is a big team but for us, we will play with our heart especially tomorrow s game. It will be a very tough match and I think the team, which holds its nerve would come up trumps", said Fernandes. "Gokulam are a very good side", claimed Sankarlal Chakraborty, the head coach of Mohun Bagan. So the team which takes its chances will win.

Though Bagan have been unbeaten away from home, giant slayers Gokulam Kerala stand in their way in Kozhikode-they had lost to them earlier in the season. Should Bagan and East Bengal win and Minerva manage just a draw, these three will find themselves level at 33 points each. Once again this season, the tournament will come right down to the wire with Minerva Punjab FC, Neroca FC, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, in contention of lifting the trophy on the final day.

Both East Bengal and NEROCA have the possibility to be crowned I-League champions when they lock horns at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata, on Thursday afternoon. Minerva will be on five points (Win and draw against Bagan, and a draw against East Bengal).

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Plaza was last contracted to I-League second division side Mohammedan Sporting who have roped in Ethiopian attacker Fikru Tefera Lemessa as a replacement. Interestingly, he scored both those goals against Churchill Brothers and it included a late injury time victor that helped his side edge a five-goal thriller in Kolkata. It was also alleged that D'Cunha called up CCFC's manager and players, accusing them of trying to fix the match in Minerva's favour. They defeated us 2-1 at their home.

With the stakes so high, Singh admitted that there is pressure on his team to deliver against Churchill and he has been doing everything he can to keep the squad's spirits up.

The loss that followed against Chennai City in the new year was enough to end coach Sanjoy Sen's three-season-long tenure. On Monday, after training, we watched the Shillong Lajong-East Bengal match on the bus on our way back to the hotel. For Minerva it's a do or die match for them to win the I-League and for us also it's a do or die match for survival in the I-League.

"We are motivating our players and making sure that they get positive reactions from us even if they commit a mistake". We have to believe that we can do this.

For all those who considered the I-League a redundant entity, a finale featuring four teams on Thursday should change all that.

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