Dempo FC will look to keep their unbeaten run intact when they lock horns with Salgaocar FC in the first semi-finals of the 36th Hero Federation Cup football here on Friday.
The first semi-finals at the Nehru Stadium, which will be an all Goan derby, will be a close contest with Salgaocar looking to capture the third title this season, having won the Durand Cup and Goa's Pro-League.
Salgaocar started the league campaign on a loosing note, going down against Bengaluru FC 1-2 after putting up a good fight but beat Shillong Lajong, Mohan Bagan and Pune FC to qualify for the semi-finals.
Douhou Pierre has been their fulcrum in the attack and it is to be seen how he negotiates the likes of Mandar Rao Dessai, Lenny Rodrigues Jewel Raja and Romeo Fernandes in the middle of the park with the latter been outstanding scoring four goals.
The defense too has been looking good with Agustin Fernandes standing tall in front of the goal.
Salgaocar coach Derrick Pereira said: "Playing in the semi-finals of the Federation Cup against arch-rivals requires no additional motivation. We know we are just one game away from the finals. The mood is upbeat and the boys are raring to go.
"We have improved with every passing game and are will look to carry our form from the last two games into tomorrow's game. There is little bit of concern with couple of niggling injuries to Duffy and Francis but I am hopeful of having the entire squad at my disposal," stated Pereira.
Dempo have played attacking game througout the tournament and coach Arthur Papas has rotated his reserve players so as to prepare themselves ahead of the I-League that begins later this month. Their attack have come mostly from the flanks with Mandar Rao Dessai and Romeo Fernandes keeping the attack moving from the flanks along with Leny Rodrigues and Peter Carvalho.
With both the teams knowing each others' games, a lot will depend on who dominates the midfield and utilise the half chances.