Semifinals promise exciting contests

The unpredictability of the cup competition was on full view as the curtains came down on the Group stages of the Federation Cup on Tuesday.

I-League table toppers Bengaluru FC were sent packing even as Churchill Brothers, who have found the going very tough in he League, progressed into the knockout stages.

Churchill are joined by two other Goan sides, Sporting Clube de Goa – who did very well to emerge unscathed from a group containing BFC as well as East Bengal – and Dempo, who drew 0-0 against Mohammedan Sporting in their last group game and advanced only because of a superior goal difference.

Mohun Bagan, who began the tournament with two victories including a 6-0 thrashing of Shillong, will square off against Churchill in one semifinal with Sporting locking horns with Dempo in the other semifinal.

Both the games are intriguing in nature but Churchill, only team left in the tournament to have won all their matches so far, have emerged as the team to beat as well as the team to watch – having scored or conceded 11 goals thus far in their three games.

Another team that will fancy its chances of progressing beyond the semis is Bagan with both their strikers Odafa Okolie and Chirstopher Chizoba in good form heading into the knockout stage.

Churchill, on the other hand, Churchill will look to Anthony Wolfe, a midfielder who scored two goals in the thrilling3-2 win over Pune FC in their last game, for inspiration and drive from midfield.

The all-Goan affair between Dempo and Sporting too promises to be an intriguing tussle as the former’s goal has been breached only once in their three outings, while the latter have scored seven goals so far in the competition.

Wednesday’s fixtures: Semifinals: Churchill Brothers vs Mohun Bagan; Sporting Clube de Goa vs Dempo SC.

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