Friday , April 12 2024

I-League Round 17 Preview: Gokulam Kerala’s comeback chariot on a poignant run!

Gokulam Kerala FC have emerged as a dominant force in the I-League, particularly evident in their recent performances. Ever since they resumed their campaign earlier this month, the Malabarians have secured four consecutive victories, underscoring their status as the team to beat. Having scored 12 goals in the four wins, it also showcased Gokulam Kerala’s attacking prowess.

The Malabarians’ upcoming match against Churchill Brothers on Saturday, February 24, 2024, presents them with an opportunity to not only extend their winning streak but also to close the gap with the league leaders Mohammedan Sporting. Currently, Gokulam Kerala are second in the standings with 29 points from 15 matches, including eight wins, five draws, and only two losses. They are just five points behind Mohammedan Sporting, who have played the same number of matches.

Gokulam Kerala will start as favourites against Churchill Brothers, who have had an underwhelming I-League campaign so far. With only three wins, five draws and six losses, the Red Machines occupy the 10th spot in the table with 14 points from as many matches. The last time Churchill had won a match was back in December when they beat NEROCA FC. No wonder they will be keen to return to winning ways on home soil in Vasco da Gama.

But it won’t be easy for Churchill Brothers. Gokulam Kerala have the league’s top scorer Alex Sanchez in their ranks and Churchill’s defenders will need to play a crucial role in containing the striker who has already scored 15 goals.

Besides Gokulam Kerala, Sreenidi Deccan will also be keen to reduce the gap with Mohammedan Sporting with a win over Namdhari FC on Sunday, February 25, 2024. The Deccan Warriors are third in the points table with 29 points from 14 matches with nine wins, two draws and three losses. They are on a three-game winning streak and will look to overcome the challenge posed by Namdhari FC, who are 11th in the standings.

All eyes will also be on the match between Inter Kashi and Real Kashmir FC in Kalyani, also on Sunday. Real Kashmir are fourth in the table with 26 points from 14 matches while Inter Kashi are fifth with 22 points from 15 matches. Both sides are coming into the match on the back of convincing victories and will be starting on an even keel. Inter Kashi though will be looking to avenge their 4-0 defeat against Real Kashmir in the reverse fixture in Srinagar.

On Friday afternoon, relegation-threatened NEROCA FC will welcome Delhi FC in Kalyani, while Aizawl FC will hope to put their heavy loss to Sreenidi Deccan FC behind them and put on a good showing against a Rajasthan United FC side who have let in nine goals in their last two games.

In Sunday’s late kick-off, Shillong Lajong FC will be aiming to play more consistently when they face a beleaguered TRAU FC in Kalyani. Lajong FC are sixth in the points table with 22 points from 14 matches and will be looking to score a big win against a side who are rock bottom of the table.

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