High on confidence after stunning the defending champions at home, Real Kashmir are gearing up to take on heavyweights Mohun Bagan in their next I-League fixture, in Srinagar on Sunday.
Real Kashmir beat holders Chennai City FC 2-1 in their first home match of the season to eke out their first win of the season.
“We are all looking forward to welcoming such a historic club to Kashmir and we are all in anticipation of playing against them. It will be a great occasion,” Real Kashmir coach, David Robertson said.
Before playing their first home game, they had earned crucial points on the road against East Bengal and debutants TRAU FC.
Kallum Higginbotham had played a key role in win against Chennai.
“Kallum is an experienced player who has played at a high level. He has the experience and knows how to get into areas to hurt teams. He has done well and his attitude is great which has allowed him to settle in pretty quickly to the I-League,” said.
On the other hand, the Mariners, who had a mixed start to the season with a draw and a loss, have found their much-needed form to the liking of their huge fan following.
The Kolkata giants, at the moment, have the best attacking record of the league with eight goals.
Mohun Bagan are banking on their Spanish talisman Francisco Gonzalez, who has scored five goals in the four matches, as well as Joseba Beitia who has been a key player in the mid-field.
“It is a big occasion and opportunity for us to play in Kashmir. Last season, the stadium was so full that there was no space to sit in the stands and people were queuing outside. It is overwhelming to see such support here not only for the home team but also for us,” said Kibu Vicuna, Head Coach Mohun Bagan.
The Spanish gaffer also stressed that Real Kashmir cannot be taken lightly.
“I am confident about our performance but we will also have to be wary of the fact that Real Kashmir will play at home.”
“They will have huge support and the weather conditions suit them very well as their team are habituated to playing here. I hope we will be able to present the people of Kashmir some great footballing action,” he added.
Indian Arrows host Neroca
Brimming with confidence after their stunning win over Goan giants Churchill Brothers, Indian Arrows will look to produce another good show when they host Neroca FC of Manipur in an I-League fixture in Goa on Sunday.
The Arrows, under the able guidance of coach Shanmugam Venkatesh, created more than a flutter when they beat Churchill Brothers 2-1 last week for their maiden win of the campaign.
Neroca, on the other hand, have not quite been as impressive as their debut season but a well-fought draw at the home of the defending champions Chennai City in their last outing would have set them up nicely for Sunday’s game at the Tilak Maidan here.
Neroca coach Gift Raikhan identified scoring as one of the areas where this team would need to concentrate on.
“Indian Arrows are a very good team as was evident in their win against Churchill Brothers and we are not taking them lightly at all,” the coach said on the eve of the match.
“We are lacking in scoring but our approach will be to take three points anyhow. We respect the talent the Arrows have a lot but we will surely play to win.”
Arrows gaffer Venkatesh, on the other hand, was more focussed on getting the year off to a good start.
“Obviously a win boosts the motivation ahead of upcoming fixtures. But, we cant sit and rejoice on the previous result right now. Its time to build on those three points and push further,” he said.
The Arrows are indefatigable in their approach and their players like Vikram Partap and Givson Singh are fearless and relentless when searching for an opening.
Neroca are well-served under the bar with Trinidadian veteran Marvin Phillip coming up with good shifts regularly but key players like Chanso Horam and Taryk Sampson will have to be on their toes in defence and if the likes of Malian striker Boubacar Diara can score more in attack, the visitors can leave Goa with three crucial points.