3rd September, 2016 – Delhi, India – DSK Shivajians FC is a step short of adding another page to their history when they clash with Minerva FC in a Group-A encounter of the 128th Durand Cup 2016 at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday.

Having gathered seven points from their first three matches, DSK Shivajians has put themselves in the race for a berth in the semi-finals. But, for DSK Shivajians to be certain they need to extend their unbeaten run, rather than leave it for their last match to decide which would mean playing within 24 hours against Army Green.

The scenario in Group-A is; DSK Shivajians (7 points; 3 games), Indian Navy (6 points from 4), Army Green (4 points from 2).

The encounter, competitively, is a first for both sides. However, the lead up into this game has been a contrast for both. DSK Shivajians began with a 2-1 victory over Sporting Clube de Goa, then followed it up with a 2-1 verdict over Gangtok Himalayan SC, before playing out an exciting 3-3 draw with Indian Navy, where a last-gasp goal denied them three wins in-a-row

Chandigarh-based Minerva FC has been at the receiving end by going fighting 0-2 to Gangtok Himalayan SC and then 0-3 to Indian Navy where they finished the game with 10-men.

Ahead of the crucial match, DSK Shivajians First Team Manager Dave Rogers said: “They have some good individual players who if are given time and space, could cause problems.”

On paper, Minerva FC, runners-up of last year’s I-League Second Division, has an experienced lineup, something that DSK Shivajians will be wary. Manager Rogers realises and, explains “We know this will be a tough game and one that need us to be at our best to achieve a positive result. No game of football is a given for any team, so we know that apart from trying to play good football, we must also win our battles throughout the pitch to achieve a positive outcome.”

Having made his observations, Rogers for a fact has a load of positives that he takes into the game. To begin with, DSK Shivajians has done well to take the lead and win, likewise hold their nerves to come back after conceding a goal.

Adding up is Dave has four scorers, namely Rohit Kumar (4 goals); Kim Song Yong, Arif Shaikh and Juan Quero who scored seven among themselves. The tactical rotation of foreign players  and finding the right composition has led to almost all of the 18-man squad getting a chance on the field.

While the positives are many, conceding goals in the latter part of the second half remains.

On the other hand, the list of casualties in the DSK Shivajians camp has increased after Zohmingliana Ralte received a concussion while going for a ball in the last match against Indian Navy. Gagandeep Singh, who injured himself against Gangtok Himalayan, is still out of the reckoning.

Dave added, “The players must keep believing in themselves, their ability and continue to enjoy the occasion.”

Aware that Minerva FC is yet to get their scoring act together, DSK Shivajians, with youth and experience combining well, look set. A clean sheet could add up to confidence on the morrow, the biggest target DSK Shivajians will hope is to get a positive result.

On the other hand, the list of casualties in the DSK Shivajians camp has increased after Zohmingliana Ralte received a concussion while going for a ball in the last match against Indian Navy. Gagandeep Singh, who was injured in the match against Gangtok Himalayan, is still out of reckoning.

Looking ahead Dave observed, “The players must keep believing in themselves, their ability and continue to enjoy the occasion.”

Aware that Minerva FC is yet to get their scoring act together, DSK Shivajians, with youth and experience combining well, look set. A clean sheet could add up as another positive but probably the biggest target DSK Shivajians will hope for is to get a positive result.

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