Former champions Aizawl FC will play for pride as well as to stave of an imminent threat of relegation when they take on rampaging table toppers Chennai City FC on Friday, January 18 in the day’s second 12th I-League clash.
It will be an evening kick-off under lights at Coimbatore’s Nehru Stadium, with the game scheduled for a 7.30pm IST start.
The gulf in quality between the two teams, on the evidence available so far over the 12 games that both have played, is as huge as the 17-point difference that separates them on the points table.
Aizawl FC have parted ways with Gift Raikhan, who was at the helm for the first 10 games and have brought in Stanley Rozario, whose first game in charge was encouraging given they were able to hold a surging Real Kashmir FC to a goalless draw.
Speaking to media on the eve of the game, Robbie Stockdale said, “Chennai City are on the top of the points table and are playing very good. They have good players. In football, anything can happen. We are looking forward for tomorrow’s match. We will be taking back something positive. It is a big challenge for me, I trust the north-eastern boys they are going to put up a good fight. The boys are ready for tomorrow’s match and will be giving their best.”
Friday against Chennai City FC at their home ground, however, will be a completely different proposition given they would have to encounter an attack comprising of the league’s joint highest scorer Pedro Manzi and fellow Spanish midfield maestros Nestor Jesus and Sandro Rodriguez, along with the likes of Romario Jesuraj and others.
The home side is coming off a brilliant come-from-behind victory against East Bengal in their previous game four days back and that is sure to boost the confidence of the Akbar Nawas-coached side even more.
“Tomorrow ‘s match is a very dangerous match. An opponent is an opponent and they have a new coach. We have to keep our feet on the ground and concentrate on tomorrow’s game. Charles and Sreeram are out. We are not making any changes in the team but we try to rotate the players whatsoever. Our boys will be giving their best tomorrow,” said Nawas.
The only statistic that Aizawl FC can take some solace from is the fact that they have won three out of their last five games and that they gave a good fight to Chennai City FC in the first leg fixture at home and their premiere striker Kromah, who had scored in that game will want to get his fifth of the season on Friday.
Be that as it may, it still is a David versus Goliath fight in the current situation at the Nehru Stadium on Friday. We look forward to a competitive game as Aizawl FC have pride to play for and Chennai City FC have the title within their sights.