The heat is on
Call it the six point game, some call it the match of the season, Punditz will call it the title decider. It may be a tad bit early but with just 7 more games to go, this could well be the league decider. However stats and run of games will tell a different story. Read on and we are talking about the red hot tornadoes against the high flying Barak coming Saturday on Matchday 12 of the ongoing NPL. Dimapur is scorching hot so are both these teams that can boast of the best talents in Nagaland. Separated by just two points, it is a must win for both teams. The pressure is the same and both team starts favourite. Same style of play with midfield dominance rampaging most opponents in the NPL. Two Coaches with a similar philosophy but different in Character. FCNT’s Mughato is wily, tenacious and a strategist while BFFC’s Brando is intelligent, subtle and tactically very strong. FCNT plays the 4-4-2 format and shuffles with 4-4-1-1 or at times with 5 midfield while BFFC plays 3-5-2 and shuffles with 4-4-2 or at times with a CDM in front of the defence.
It gets interesting when you look at the future games of the two teams that will get you thinking as in who needs the three points more or who cannot simply just afford to slip up. Tornadoes run of coming two fixtures after this match sees them play Dynamic and Zonipang in Dimapur whereas Barak’s two upcoming fixtures see them play Life Sports and Dimapur United. Even if Tornadoes lose this match they can well cover it up in the next two matches and mind you it is just a prediction and on the actual day of play we will not know which team is going to play like gods. If Barak loses this match, they will be 5 points behind and will be playing two tough opponents who are sitting just below them on the points table. Round one stats gives an edge to FCNT.
Its all about mentality and character
It also comes down to which players are more motivated than the other to win. Talking about players mentality and character, FCNT started the league with a bang with all its players hungry to win ever match but there could be riffs inside the camp. The star striker Kivi Sumi who was the top scorer for FCNT has left the team and joined Komets to play for them in the second season. The reasons are unknown and it is this mysterious circumstances that makes the story more suspicious where in there could be disgruntled players. Players morale could be down in this camp. On the other hand BFFC’s players did not start the season well and the camp was a bit in shambles with players looking like they were just playing football for its owners and the paycheck. This has now changed with former India U-16 Captain Velukho claiming the captains armband and transformed the dressing room with his composure and walk the walk attitude. This camp is filled with confidence and has new players in the roster like the striker Bungthot who scored a hattrick on his debut. On team morale BFFC edges this round.
Squad strength and strategy
Lastly it comes down to form, squad strength and game strategy of the team. After their last fiery encounter 8 matchdays back their form looks like this –Both teams have scored 25 and conceded 5. FCNT has won 6 and drawn 2 collecting 20 points. BFFC has won 7 and drawn 1 collecting 22 points. The current strike pair of Rhitso Mero and Akum has a combined 7 goals to their tally and the rest has come from the midfield trio of Sanenlo, Athing and Victor minus of course Kivi Sumi. BFFC’s strikers Pemmi, Ketho, Salu and Asian minus the new striker Bungthot has a tally of 16 goals and BFFC’s goals has mostly come from upfront with the addition from Gangte. In addition FCNT has received 24 Yellow cards to BFFC’s 10 yellow cards and 2 Red cards. Both teams average about 2.27 goals scored per game and 0.45 average of goals conceded per game. FCNT boasts of a midfield strength of 6 different players that has logged in 8 games or more while BFFC has versatile strikers that can play midfield roles and midfielders that can hold defence too. BFFC has five different strikers logging in 8 games and more by playing reverse position. FCNT’s strategy could be like the five midfield fielded against Dimapur United with the crafty Victor dictating play with Sanenlo and Athing running the flanks with Asiu hard as rock on left back. While BFFC will play to its strength by playing 4 defence and 4 midfield with Velukho and Gante interchanging plays to link up with Pemmi dropping behind the main striker and Khaunjang playing CD, a position where he actually started his career with. What both teams can exploit is however the left and right back positions. FCNT should pressure the left space and exploit BFFC by getting low crosses in or play their one touch football in the opponents 20 yards. BFFC is also vulnerable on set pieces especially corners. BFFC can exploit the right back position and should get long shots on target early on to put pressure on the goalkeeper. The high defensive line of FCNT could give BFFC space on the flanks which they can use and drive through the middle much like how life Sports Strategy was on Matchday 7. This is a tough call just to give an advantage on stats therefore round three stats is even. It looks like a draw in paper but surely a team is walking away with three points and possibly closer to the NPL crown 2012. For all we know this is going to be the most exciting match and aptly named “the 367 derby”.
-NPL Media Release