Tuff Dogs are favourites, says Vasco coach
Defending champions Tuff Dogs and Vasco will do battle tonight at the Goose Gosling Field for the Bistro Challenge Cup final.
For Dogs, it will be a chance to end the season on a high after relinquishing their Corona league title to Robin Hood in the closing weeks, with president Manny Faria confident of his side can produce the goods.
“We want to win every game we play,” said Faria. “I don’t necessarily think losing the league will make us play any harder, it’s a cup final and that should be all the incentive a team needs.
“Obviously it’s a bit disappointing to lose the league after leading it much of the way, but it was a fantastic finish.
“I think there’s always a bit of pressure on us. Teams come out every week and play us hard, everyone likes to beat the defending champions, and after winning the double last year I’m sure some players might feel the pressure that they have to win the cup in order for the season to be deemed successful. Everyone likes to hoist some silverware.”
The first league meeting between the two sides this season ended in a 3-3 draw, but the second encounter saw Dogs thrash Vasco 5-1 thanks to a hat-trick from Kevin Hurdle.
Vasco coach Joe Barbosa is under no illusions about the task facing his side in the final.
“We're obviously the underdogs in this contest, given our league positions this season,” said Vasco coach Joe Barbosa. “We've struggled to put out a consistent line up from week to week and we're not as deep as I'd like us to be.
“However, the Cup game is a one-off and it shouldn't be difficult to motive players for a cup final. Historically we've matched up well against Tuff Dogs and at full strength, I'm hoping we can cause a surprise.
“There is a certain rivalry between Vasco and Tuff Dogs so that adds a little more flavour to the tie. Both teams will be up for it. Tuff Dogs didn't repeat last year’s feat as league champions and we lost in the first Corona Cup Final, so we both have reasons to want to end the season on a high note.”
The final starts at 8pm. The Docksiders All-Star game will take place tomorrow at 3pm followed by an awards presentation at the Docksiders Pub and Restaurant.
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