The reverse fixture between the two sides turned out to be a draw earlier this season.
Debutants Real Kashmir FC, take on Gokulam Kerala FC on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, at the TRC ground in Srinagar, in what is a crucial clash for the home team, who are nursing hopes of a dream title win on debut.
It is a usual afternoon start in Kashmir, where there is a slight chance of rain in chilly temperatures, with the kick-off slated for 2 pm IST.
Kashmir are on 29 points after 15 games, just one behind leaders Chennai City and a victory on Wednesday, depending on the outcome of Tuesday’s Churchill-Shillong game, they can catapult themselves to the top spot at the business end of the league.
Gokulam are totally out of it, having garnered 12 points from 14 games, but under new Technical Director Gift Raikhan, have shown fight off late after a promising start to the campaign two months earlier.
Both teams played out draws in their last game, but Gokulam’s performance against Mohun Bagan will surely boost their confidence for Wednesday.
So will Kashmir’s effort down in Goa, where they also split points against a tough Churchill Brothers at home.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, among other things, Kashmir’s Scottish coach David Robertson shared his thoughts saying, “Tomorrow’s game is just like another game. We don’t think it’s going to be easy, it’s going to be difficult. They have made some changes in their team by getting in some quality players and they have signed in a new technical director too. It will be a different team we will be facing tomorrow. If we work hard and do the things we have done and keep consistency like the other games, then hopefully we will be getting points.”
He was probably referring to the first game between the two sides played at Kochi when even though Gokulam was going through a rough patch, they managed to eke out a 1-1 draw. He also shared that he would start with both Kofi and Krizo, his two front men, as both were available.
For the visitors, this will be the third match that new Technical Director Gift Raikhan will be in charge and they have not lost since he has come on board and have notched up two draws against Minerva and Mohun Bagan respectively.
Gift Raikhan said at the pre-game presser, “Real Kashmir are playing for the championship and Gokulam for relegation. Both are different things. The match will be very difficult as both the teams will be giving their best. Tomorrow will be an exciting match. Real Kashmir defenders are good, that’s why they are on top. If you are in the title race, the confidence level is different and they will be in good momentum. This is crucial for us and the other teams. For me, this is my third match. There will be few changes in the game plan, let’s see if the team can implement the same on the field.”
One thing is for certain though, that the visitors will not only have to contend with a brilliant Kashmir defence, but also the conditions and a vociferous home crowd at the TRC Ground tomorrow.
The hosts do not have any major injury concerns at the moment.
The southerners also do not have any major injury concerns at the moment and are looking forward to the game.
Real Kashmir: Bilal (GK), Ravanan, Katebe, Loveday, Thapa, Bazie, Ganie, Surchandra, Danish, Ritwik, Mason
Gokulam Kerala: Shibin Raj(GK), Irshad, Addo, Muirang, Lalmuankima, Vorbe, Batata, Musa, Josheph, Khan, Suhair
The match will kick-off at 2 PM at TRC Ground. It will be telecasted on digital platforms of Jio TV and Hotstar.