The ONGC side competing in the EFPO All India Public Sector football tournament may just be the reserve-team version of the senior side, but the results do not show it. The defending champions defeated FCI 2-0 in the semifinals to inch closer for yet another title, provided they beat State Bank of Travancore in the final. While the title cash will keep Subroto Bhattacharya, ONGC's coach, involved, he will also keep an eye on another challenge, the side's I-League game against the fancied Mohun Bagan on November 9 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.
Lying currently in the 13th spot of the I League on the points after the end of round 4, ONGC have only managed to secure a solitary point so far. They have three defeats against their account which has already pushed them into the danger zone of relegation so early in the season. ONGC had a similar tale two seasons back where they ended bottom of the charts and were relegated to the second division. But since then the institutional team have worked hard to make their way into the I-League this year, and coach Bhattacharya is confident of an improved performance.
“It would be early to say anything regarding how would the season will end for ONGC but despite three losses, we have shown potential against Air India. We have to ensure that we are consistent in our approach. From here the bar can only go up otherwise we won't be able to catch up fast with other teams. Two years ago when we got demoted, we were tied with four teams but however we had to face the axe. So every match from now on is as important as a do or die game,” said Bhattacharya.
Coming back to Tuesday's semifinal match, Bhattacharya accepted that his team might got the better off FCI, but ONGC lacked focus and thus squandered a lot of scoring chances. The scoreline was 2-0, but didn't reflect the true character of the match. As the match progressed, it was FCI who had the chances and ONGC were left hanging on.
“We have been committing silly mistakes in our I-League matches. Our defence has been a worry. Although we are fielding only our U-20 side for this tournament, still the focus is wavering and we are missing simple chances of scoring. This is a superb chance for practice before