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United must stem the rot

Calcutta: Four defeats in five matches… The plot, all of a sudden, went completely wrong for Prayag United Sports Club in this season’s I-League.

So, on Saturday, United SC will hope to regain their winning form when they lock horns with Sporting Clube de Goa, in Kalyani. Their deserving win against East Bengal too did very little to bring United SC back on track as they got thrashed 1-3 in the very next match against Pune FC.

Given the present circumstances, Sporting Clube — lying low at No. 12 in the league table — might just be the ‘ideal’ opposition for United SC to return to winning ways.

One of the reasons of United SC’s sudden dip in performance could be the doubts over Carlos Hernandez, whose approach has left club officials perplexed. The officials argue that Hernandez’s injury is not as serious as he’s making it appear.

With Hernandez being a doubtful starter, United SC may have to do with just one foreigner in Ranty Martins, considering that stopper back Bello Rasaq is serving a two-match suspension after his brawl with his Uga Okpara.

On the other side, Sporting Clube, hoping for a revival of fortunes under new coach Oscar Bruzon of Spain, have not been able to improve at all and rather, suffered one of the biggest defeats in the form of their 4-8 hammering by Churchill Brothers. “I have taken over midway in the competition and would need some time to bring the team back in shape,” said Bruzon.

“Our opponent, of course, has the home advantage. But we’ll try our best to neutralise it. I hope the team will fare well playing in the Spanish system, which I am trying to get in place,” he added.

Sporting Clube, though, will look to foreigners Ogba Kalu and Keita Boubacar to rise to the occasion.