Real Kashmir will be confident of continuing their winning run at home when they take on former winners Aizawl FC in the I-League in Srinagar on Saturday.
Real Kashmir defeated Aizawl 2-0 at the latter’s backyard in the first leg. They will be playing the second of their five consecutive home games at the TRC Turf Ground.
The ‘Snow Leopards’ are placed fifth in the league table with 18 points from 12 games and a win in the next outing would put them level on points with second-placed Punjab FC who have 21 points from 13 matches.
Aizawl (15 points after 13 games) are placed 10th among 11 teams and battling relegation. A win for the 2016-17 champions would help them reach 18 points, the same as RKFC.
In the first leg, centre back Mason Robertson played a key role in Kashmir’s victory, scoring once and assisting the other goal, netted by Gnohere Krizo. He would be expected to lead RKFC’s forward march.
The Scotsman’s goals have been crucial for RKFC this season as his opportunistic strikes have helped them get points on the road.
Robertson, together with Kallum Higginbotham and Bazie Armand, have played pivotal roles in their campaign.
RKFC approach the match on the back of a 1-0 win over Indian Arrows while Aizawl forced a 1-1 draw with defending champions Chennai City in Chennai.
The win over Indian Arrows helped Kashmir end a two-match losing streak.
East Bengal host Churchill Brothers
East Bengal will return to the iconic Yuba Bharati Krirangan for the first time this I-League season as they cross swords with Churchill Brothers in Kolkata on Saturday.
After having succumbed to five defeats since the turn of the year, the Red and Golds got their campaign back on track with two successive wins, helping them out of relegation zone.
The Kolkata giants have an opportunity to extend their winning run but the possibility of moving up from the fourth to second place will depend on the outcome of the day’s third and final fixture involving Gokulam Kerala and Punjab.
Churchill Brothers FC Goa, currently third on the table, had their winning run thwarted by the Red and Gold’s arch-rivals Mohun Bagan.
However, the Red Machines’ last trip to the city of joy was one to remember, running out 4-2 winners against the league leaders and till date, remain the only side to have inflicted defeat on Mohun Bagan this season.
Churchill Brothers were also the first team to stop East Bengal’s unbeaten run earlier in the season, courtesy a last-minute Willis Plaza header, the result leading to a downward spiral for the Red & Golds.
Punjab lock horns with Gokulam Kerala
Former champions Punjab FC will lock horns with Gokulam Kerala in the I-League in Kozhikode on Saturday, looking to do a double after winning the first leg.
Gokulam are coming on the back of a loss against Neroca in a match they started as favourites.
After leading 2-1 at the half time, the Malabarians couldn’t hold on to their lead and ended up being on the losing side.
In the first leg, the Punjab outfit snatched three points from Gokulam’s grasp to continue its enviable run at its fortress.
After equalising in the 52nd minute, Gokulam’s defence was torn apart by Punjab’s marquee striker, Asier Pierrick Dipanda Dicka, who scored once from open play and converted a free-kick to register a 3-1 win for the northerners.
Punjab FC have been one of the strongest contenders this season. Despite being 11 points adrift of the leaders Mohun Bagan, Punjab is the only team in the league who are still undefeated at home.
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