AIFF Media Team
IMPHAL, February 10, 2019: Chennai City FC, who have had an impeccable season so far winning 10 out of their 15 games so far and losing only twice to debutants Real Kashmir FC, take on Manipuri side Neroca FC in a return leg fixture on Monday, February 11, 2019 which will begin their final push towards the maiden National league triumph in their short four year history.
The crucial game will be played at the Khuman Lampak stadium and is slated for a 2 PM IST kick-off.
The visitors are almost home, sitting atop the table with 33 points, but can ill-afford to drop their guard, given the competitive nature of the league.
Neroca, who fell away a bit in their campaign in recent times, losing three of their last four games, are placed fifth with 25 points from 16 games and are still among at least three other chasing teams with a realistic shot at the coveted Hero I-League crown.
Their Spanish coach Manuel Fraile exhibited the required confidence on match-day eve commenting, “We will be playing tomorrow against Chennai not for the first position but for the best position. We will be playing at home and that is important and we will go all out and try to take the three points.”
“It’s an important match. I think Chencho will score again against Chennai City. If tomorrow Chennai make mistakes and we are in a good momentum and play our style, we might win although it’s hard to play against Chennai.”
The coach was referring to ‘Bhutanese Ronaldo’ Chencho Gyeltshen, who recently joined the Neroca ranks on loan and scored in his first game for his new side, albeit in a losing cause against Quess East Bengal in the previous game.
Chennai City FC have had so much riding on their ‘Spanish Penta’, which includes the keeperSantana, this season and they have almost always delivered. They have scored 27 of their 33 goals so far and even in the last game against the Indian Arrows, Sandro Rodriguez’ impeccable free-kick helped break the deadlock in the second half.
Their Singaporean coach Akbar Nawas, who has remained grounded throughout the league, seemed to acknowledge short-comings in their previous game when he said in the pre-game presser, “We hope for a much more better and improved performance against Neroca. It’s going to be a competitive match. We all know how Neroca can cause damage with their strikers. Neroca is known for pace in their attack and counters too, so we have to be prepared for this.”
Given the context and the desperation of Chennai to get a result, it is all set to be a cracker at the Khuman Lampak Stadium.