Gokulam Kerala FC and Real Kashmir FC will look for nothing less than a win to stay in the title hunt when they take on each other in a crucial I-League match in Kozhikode on Saturday.
There is not a lot to segregate between the two sides, with Gokulam Kerala resting on fourth position with 14 points from nine games, while Kashmir are two places below on sixth with 12 points but played a game less than their rivals.
Gokulam still remain title hopefuls and have produced some incredible displays to support their ambitions, like their impressive away win against Quess East Bengal.
Inconsistency, however, has cost Gokulam on quite a few occasions. They dropped points at home to TRAU, drawing 1-1 in their last fixture and will be hopeful of getting the job done this time around.
Real Kashmir made an inconsistent start to their I-League campaign this year which saw them drop to as low as ninth in the standings at one point.
Since their 0-1 loss to Neroca, the Snow Leopards have bounced back and have now registered two wins on the trot against Indian Arrows and Aizawl, winning both fixtures 2-0.
Kashmir will be further aided by the acquisition of full-back Sena Ralte and veteran forward Robin Singh on loan. A win for Real Kashmir will see them leapfrog three places to third in the standings.
TRAU look to maintain unbeaten streak
To stay in title contention, the in-form Tiddim Road Athletic Union FC would look to continue their unbeaten streak when they take on city foes Neroca FC in an I-League match in Imphal on Saturday.
TRAU are high on confidence ahead of Saturday’s tie as they are on a five-match unbeaten spree, including four wins and a draw.
TRAU’s fortunes made dramatic turnaround after their last fixture against Neroca, where they registered their first win of the season and since then they haven’t looked behind.
Neroca, on the other hand, have gone the other way, suffering defeat in three of the last four games and are in ninth position.
TRAU are currently in the third spot in the standings with 15 points from 10 games behind Punjab FC (17 points off 10 games) and league leaders Mohun Bagan (23 points off 10 matches).
TRAU seemed to be having a more settled side at the moment with all positions well marked out.
They have experience and solidity at the back with Patrick Uche and Sandeep Singh giving a lot of assurance ahead of keeper Mithun Samanta, who has been good overall.
Angousana, as distributor-in-chief and the wing-play of Krishnananda Singh, has been outstanding.
Neroca have brought in Subhash Singh from Real Kashmir and his play down the left flank, which impressed one and all last season in the same colours, might just provide the boost for the struggling outfit.
Along with Pritam Singh on the right, this might just open up more options to create chances.
Zodingliana Ralte and Varun Thokchom have also impressed in patches but what will worry Gift Raikhan most will be his defence, which has let in 21 goals till now – the worst record in the league.