Aizawl FC will look to consolidate at the upper echelons of the table with another victory in the league. . .
The Aizawl-based club appointed Khalid Jamil as the head coach at the beginning of the season and the road for the Reds since then has only been upwards. The Aizawl side has been totally revamped and is currently being regarded as one of the title contenders in the league.
They have snatched six wins in this year’s league campaign, grabbing 20 points on the road which puts them in the third place in the league standings, only behind East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. Though they are at fault of a single point which puts them in the third place, they might go on top considering Aizawl wins over Chennai City FC in their next fixture and both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan lose points out in this game week.
A new side in the league this year, Chennai City FC was finding it tough under their former Coach Jewel Charles Raja in the beginning of the league earlier this year but with Raja sacked earlier this month, the Chennai-based side is showing glimpses of finding their feet under newly appointed coach V.Soundararajan.
The Chennai side comes to their next fixture after a 4-1 thumping to league rivals Shillong Lajong FC but is confident to get back to the winning ways against Aizawl FC on Saturday. Chennai City FC is currently holed in the bottom half of the league standings, in the eighth position with eight points and will be looking forward to nothing less than three points against the Meghalaya side.
Aizawl FC is not having any serious injury concerns but the Reds might be missing a key figure in Lalruatthara against Chennai City. However, they are expected to line-up the same as it was against East Bengal FC in the previous match, which they won 1-0.
Head Coach Khalid Jamil has always been hesitant to experiment with a winning formation and is expected to start the previous match day squad against Chennai City at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Chennai City is currently without any injuries amongst themselves and the lack of suspension in the squad come as a welcome news for newly appointed Head Coach V.Soundararajan.
Head to Head
Chennai City FC slightly edges over the hosts in terms of past encounters. The two teams have met only once till now, which they won 2-0.
V Soundararajan (Chennai City FC): “All my players are fit, but we might face certain difficulties because of the artificial turf. There are still several matches to be played, we will try our best in those matches to be safe and to end the season with a good result.”
Khalid Jamil (Aizawl FC): “Tomorrow’s match is an important one. We are playing a team who defeated us at their home pitch. We have to try to do the same thing to them tomorrow. We have to give our best, if we do that, everything will be okay.”
Man to Watch
Jayesh Rane (Aizawl FC): The 23-year-old Aizawl FC forward has been a revelation to the Aizawl squad this season. Rane, an enthusiastic and visionary playmaker has helped the Reds to build up attacks as well as tracking back to defend against the opposition counter attacks. A Mumbai FC academy product, Rane was groomed under the guidance of Khalid Jamil and has scored two goals in eight outings in the current I-League season.
Haroon Amiri (Chennai City FC): A versatile player, Amiri is making all the right noises in the recent match days which has caught the attention of several pundits. Amiri brings loads of experience in a rather inexperienced Chennai City squad and is a natural leader among their midst. The Afghanistan-born defensive midfielder is expected to operate from behind the club top scorer Charles. A master of trickery, Amiri’s vision helps circulating passes in the all center of the pitch and might be just the thing to provide the forwards what they need to ensure a positive result.
Aizawl FC (4-4-2): Gomes, Ashutosh Mehta, Kingsley Eze, Zohmingliana Ralte, Zoramthara, Albert Zohmingmawia, Mahmoud Al-Amna, Alfred Jaryan, H. Lalmuankima, Stephane Kamo Bayi, Jayesh Rane
Chennai City FC (4-4-1-1): Karanjit; Debabrata, Echezona, Ravanan, Yumnam Raju, Nandakumar, Devadas, Ganesh, Prasanth, Amiri, Charles.
Ten 2 telecasts the game on Saturday at 02:00 pm IST. You can also read Khel Now’s live commentary.