Gokulam Kerala and Churchill Brothers would look to bounce back from their previous match defeats when they face each other in an I-League match in Kozhikode on Sunday.
Both sides come into this fixture on the back of defeats. Gokulam suffered a staggering 1-3 defeat to Punjab FC in Ludhiana while Churchill Brothers were handed a major upset at home as TRAU emerged 2-1 winners at Margao.
Another defeat for either side has the potential to severely dent any title aspirations, especially when the league leaders show no signs of slowing down.
Gokulam have struggled for consistency. They beat East Bengal but later struggled to follow up such performances, as seen against Punjab FC.
Gokulam head coach Fernando Andres Santiago Varela said, “Sometimes, football is not about mistakes but about the successes of the rival. Punjab FC had the advantage as they are habituated to playing on such a field that we could not get accustomed to. Maybe we lack the experience to play that kind of game, but there is nothing to reproach the players, they always give it their all.”
Speaking about their Sunday’s opponents, he said, “Churchill Brothers are a very intense and defensively organized team. They are very dangerous in the set pieces. Our idea will be to impose the rhythm of the game and as always show a good football.”
Gokulam Kerala have already announced to donate the ticket sales amounts to the family Radhakrishnan Dhanarajan, who died recently. Legendary footballer IM Vijayan and India skipper Sunil Chhetri are reported to have already bought 250 and 220 tickets respectively to help the cause.
Churchill, on the other hand, have had better fortunes away from home and are the only side to have defeated Mohun Bagan this season but their run at home has not been as convincing, but that is a story for another day.
Churchill Brothers head coach Bernardo Tavares said, “In my opinion, Gokulam Kerala are one of the sides that have the best players of the league. They won easily with a scoreline of 3-1 against East Bengal, they played very well against Punjab and also played well the other games that I saw.”
“Marcus Joseph is a very good player and he alone can decide the game. They have other good foreigners, but also good Indian players who can make the difference. It’s going to be a very difficult game for our team because they are very strong and at this moment we have many important players injured.
Real Kashmir test for Indian Arrows
Both Indian Arrows and Real Kashmir FC will look to notch up their second win of this I-League season when they face each other in a match between two bottom-placed sides in Hyderabad on Sunday.
Both sides have been struggling this season with just one win so far.
Indian Arrows have not been able to muster a win since their 2-1 victory against Churchill Brothers on December 28 here. In their last match, the Arrows suffered a 0-2 loss against TRAU FC.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Indian Arrows head coach Shanmugam Venkatesh said, “We are a young team and have played well so far in our games. We have been working hard on improving as a team and making the most of our chances. Technically, we are a good side and all the players have the stamina to play the full 90 minutes.”
“As a developmental team, giving players the experience of playing in I-League is the primary objective and with each passing game, they are learning and developing. Results are important as well and against Real Kashmir, we will look to get the three points, which will also put us in a good position ahead of the next three away games.”
Real Kashmir, on the other hand, have not had the best of luck among the teams. In spite of creating enough chances and dominating games, they have not been able to string positive results.
The Snow Leopards have garnered only one win – against Chennai City – so far while registered three draws and two losses. They lie at 10th just above Indian Arrows.
Real Kashmir will be hoping to come back to their winning ways against Indian Arrows.
Real Kashmir head coach David Robertson said, “We all are very confident that our dominating play will turn in to wins. Luck has not been on our side but if we keep playing and working it will all fall into place.”
“Indian Arrows are always tough to play against. After all, they are the best young players in the country who are very technical and sharp. It will be a very tough game for us.”
Real Kashmir hold an upper hand when it comes to the head-to-head record. They won one match and drew the other last season.