I-League: RoundGlass Punjab aim to secure title, Aizawl FC battle with Churchill Brothers

I-League: RoundGlass Punjab aim to secure title, Aizawl FC battle with Churchill Brothers

Aizawl FC aim full points against Churchill Brothers

A mid-table clash on a day when the I-League title race could well be settled, does not create much excitement. However, when Aizawl FC played Churchill Brothers earlier this season in Vasco da Gama, there was no winner. The match had ended 1-1 with a goal in each half. Therefore, when these two teams meet again at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Saturday, proving who are better could be the motivating factor.

Aizawl, the former champions, have not been able to perform as per expectations this season. As a result, they are in the eighth spot on the points table and even a win on Saturday can only take them one place higher. Caetano Pinho’s boys have been winless in the last five matches and would definitely look to end the season on a high with full points in the last two games. Saturday’s encounter being their last home match, they can count on their passionate supporters one last time. It is also an opportunity to give them something to cheer about.

In the pre-match press conference, Pinho said, “I hope we utilise the crowd support tomorrow and get full points. We haven’t won many matches but boys have been doing well in training. They enjoy more when our supporters are there in the stands, so I’m personally requesting supporters to come in numbers tomorrow.

“There are times when we entertain supporters but this time the team is not at their best, so this time we need them,” he added.

While players like Henry Kisekka have ensured Aizawl are not starved of goals, it is his defence that has let down Pinho. In their 20 matches, Aizawl have scored 24 goals but conceding 26 has been their undoing. The Red Machines, on the other hand, are an even stronger attacking side. They have scored 32 goals. Abdoulaye Sane, Emmanuel Yaghr and Bayi Kamo have not found it too difficult to find the net. They even pumped in five goals past Rajasthan United and six past TRAU. Moreover, Churchill have been better in away matches this season. Therefore, it could be another difficult day for Pinho’s men.

Churchill coach Mateus Costa is in no mood to take Saturday’s tie lightly. “This match is doubly important after our defeat in the last match as this will decide how high we finish on the table,” he explained.

The match between Aizawl and Churchill Brothers will be telecast live on Eurosport, DD Sports and Discovery Plus OTT platform from 3 pm.

RoundGlass Punjab aim to secure title

Currently holding a five-point lead over the second-placed Sreenidi Deccan, RoundGlass Punjab FC could clinch the 2022-23 I-League title with a game to spare if they beat Rajasthan United FC at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday, March 4, 2023. The match is scheduled to kick off at 5:30 pm IST.

Rajasthan United head into this game after finally having found some form. The Desert Warriors have won consecutive games away from home with a similar margin of 1-0 against NEROCA and Mohammedan Sporting, respectively. They are now back home in Ambedkar for their final two games, hoping to finish the season on a high note.

Despite being the underdogs, Rajasthan United head coach Pushpender Kundu believes his team has a good chance of spoiling RoundGlass Punjab’s party. He said, “It is not going to be easy for RoundGlass Punjab to win the title tomorrow. They will have to face us on our home turf. We are determined to win the game and climb higher on the table. My boys are confident and ready for this challenge.”

Kundu then thanked the Rajasthan United fans for supporting his team continuously. “Even when we were going through a difficult phase, your support and best wishes kept our players motivated, which helped us come back strongly. We are committed to making our fans happy.”

RoundGlass Punjab were level on points with Sreenidi just a week ago, but the Deccan Warriors have failed to replicate their home form on the road, dropping five points in their last two games. The North Indians have won five on the trot, including an 8-0 drubbing of Sudeva Delhi and a 3-1 defeat of Churchill Brothers. And on Saturday, history beckons for them.

RoundGlass Punjab head coach Staikos Vergetis is not expecting an easy outing against Rajasthan United. He said, “Just like the previous game, we have another tough game. All the games this season have been difficult, and the championship has been highly competitive. We will have to be careful and present a good offensive performance to chase a win tomorrow.”