Real Kashmir FC face defending champions Chennai City FC in their first I-League home match of the season on Thursday in the first big sporting event in the valley since it became a union territory.
The abrogation of Article 370 and the ensuing lockdown in the valley had raised security concerns, but Real Kashmir have made elaborate arrangements, reported PTI.
Real Kashmir have played only two matches this season, both ending in draws away from home against Kolkata giants East Bengal and Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) of Imphal.
The Snow Leopards let a one-goal advantage slip in the final 13 minutes of both their matches, conceding an equaliser in the 77th and 78th minutes against East Bengal and TRAU respectively.
Although TRAU went 2-1 up against the Snow Leopards later, Mason Robertson scored a quick equaliser to snatch a point from the match in Imphal.
Assessing his team’s last outing, Real Kashmir head coach David Robertson said, “In the second half, TRAU had a go at us and we defended well. We had a great chance when Krizo was one on one with the keeper and we could have killed the game. In football, these things happen. I am proud of my players and we could have scored more.”
Mason Robertson’s impressive outing in Imphal asserted the value he brings to the Real Kashmir squad. His two-goal show featured a clinical finish that went in off the inside of the woodwork for his first and a textbook header that levelled scores for his second.
Asked about his son’s performance, David Robertson said, “Mason is a valuable player. He is very versatile. We are lucky to have him at Real Kashmir. As a father, I am delighted for him plus it makes it easier to pick your son if he is doing well.”
Chennai City, on the other hand, have made a slow start to their I-League campaign. They have secured just five points from four games, with their only victory coming against TRAU in their season opener at Coimbatore.
Captain Roberto Eslava said, “We have shown intensity, so the points that we have dropped, have not been for the lack of it. We have shown this desire in every game, and the next game against Kashmir won’t be any different.”