ONGC look to finish at home in style

 Forget the 0-1 loss to Pune FC at home in the 23rd Round of I-League last Sunday (April 14, 2013). You can afford to do that if you are Santosh Kashyap.

ONGC have been a tough nut to crack at Home
From whipping boys to giants at home, Kashyap has swung his magic wand with elan since taking up the reins last December. Under Kashyap, ONGC have lost only twice, against Mohun Bagan on the road and Pune FC at home. They have won 7 and drew 5.
Moreover, Pune snapped ONC’s nine-match unbeaten streak at the Amdedkar Stadium which has been their fortress.

As they go through the paces for their last home engagement against Mumbai FC, Kashyap is hoping that the adage ‘all’s well that ends well’ comes true.

“The game against Mumbai FC is of utmost importance to us. Our aim was to finish in the top seven. The loss to Pune FC meant that we are now ninth in the points table. So a win against Mumbai FC will once again bring our campaign on track. This being our last home game where we have achieved so much, I am hoping for a good display,” Kashyap quipped.

He further pointed out that the mid-table battle is very close with virtually nothing among four clubs. “Salgaocar, Sporting Clube de Goa, Mumbai FC and ONGC have nothing between them. Anyone of them can finish sixth. So we will give our all in the last home game where we have always fancied our chances against top sides too.”

At their own backyard, ONGC have kept table-toppers Churchill Brothers at bay apart from getting the better of second-placed East Bengal and Goan heavyweight Salgaocar. They last lost at home to Air India in November last year. Kashyap though will fret over the spate of injuries that has rocked his team since the last game.

“We will again be facing injury problems like the last game. Against Pune also we had several key players missing. The likes of Robin (Gurung), Kenistan, Bimal (Minz) will miss the tie again. Sandeep Sanga too will be out after picking up a knock in the last game. That adds to the headache.”

Looking back Kashyap added: “When I joined in December, the team looked in tatters, especially in the attacking third. I focused on improving that. I am glad that they responded well. In such a short span, the way my boys adapted was incredible. They deserve all the credit.” Mumbai FC on the other hand, will be looking to enjoy the game and ‘go with the flow.’

“With two matches to go we have nothing to aim for now. We have saved relegation and have played decent enough. We are now preparing for the next season. We will field some youngsters against ONGC and Sporting Club de Goa. We want to enjoy the next two matches and go with the flow,” Mumbai FC Coach Khalid Jamil said. Both the teams have 30 points from 24 matches.