Sunday , March 26 2023

Upbeat Sudeva Delhi FC up against tough RoundGlass Punjab FC!

Five days back, the result of this upcoming fixture could have looked like a foregone conclusion. Not many would have been ready to give Sudeva Delhi FC much of a chance against current league leaders RoundGlass Punjab FC.

But a lot can happen over five days in a competitive meet like the I-League, and this time a lot has happened. On Wednesday, toppers RoundGlass Punjab FC fell behind twice and scraped through with a point against Mumbai Kenkre FC, who are second from bottom on the points table.

Before the excitement of that six-goal thriller could subside, bottom-placed Sudeva Delhi FC defeated Rajasthan United FC 3-2 in another nail-biting finish here at Ambedkar Stadium. It was their maiden victory of the season. Therefore, Sunday’s tie at Chhatrasal Stadium between Sankarlal Chakraborty’s Sudeva Delhi FC and Staikos Vergetis’s RoundGlass Punjab FC, is now a match between a resurgent side and a team recovering from a shocking draw.

Vergetis is aware of the dangers such a match poses. “I expect a tough match tomorrow because I don’t look at the table to judge a team,” he said on the eve of the match. “And we can all see how difficult it is for a team in this league to win successive matches.”

“The last match taught us that we should start a game with more alertness and concentration,” he added.

Sudeva Delhi FC coach Chakraborty is keeping his feet on the ground. He said “My job is to keep the emotions low after the win in the last match. Because we need to win many more matches to survive.”

“Tomorrow will be a new day. The only thing to treasure from the last match is the confidence we gained,” Chakraborty said in a matter-of-fact way.

Even though most teams have already played each other at least once, these two teams will be meeting for the first time this season. Therefore, Sudeva Delhi FC’s new foreigners – Argentine Alexis Gomez and Tajik Shavkati Khotam – will be surprised elements for RoundGlass Punjab FC. While Sudeva Delhi FC have been improving slowly ever since Chakraborty took over, they lacked attacking prowess, which in turn put their defence under immense pressure. That has changed after the signing of these two. They have brought in the kind of individual brilliance Luka Majcen provides RoundGlass Punjab FC with or David Castaneda provides Sreenidi Deccan FC with.

So the RoundGlass Punjab FC defence can no longer breathe easy because they are playing the bottom-placed team on the morrow. The likes of Aleksandar Ignjatovic, Suresh Meitei, Huidrom Naocha Singh will have their task cut out.

Sudeva Delhi FC defenders will have to be at their best, too. The way Sukhandeep Singh allowed two goals from his side in the first half against Rajasthan United cannot be repeated. RoundGlass are a much superior side than Rajasthan United and even one such mistake could see them run away with the match. Wresting midfield control from Brandon Vanlalremdika, Khaiminthang Lhungdim et al will also be crucial. Unless Akeem Abioye, Selienthang Lotjem, Lalbiakliana do that, the new foreigners will be starved for balls.

The match will be telecast live on Eurosport, DD Sports and Discovery Plus OTT platform from 2pm IST.

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