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Defending champions Minerva Pubjab lock horns with table-toppers Chennai City

Written by: I-League, Khel Now

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The fixture is one of the most anticipated games of the season.

Champions Minerva Punjab take on table-toppers Chennai City FC at home at the Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula on Sunday, December 16, 2018, in what promises to be a thrilling Super Sunday clash between the champions and challengers. They kick-off Sunday’s doubleheader at 2 PM IST which will be followed by the ‘Kolkata Derby’ later in the evening.

Defending champions Minerva, after a poor start to the 12th Hero I-League, have made a comeback of sorts and find themselves in the fifth position with 11 points from seven games. They had a fantastic away victory against Kolkata giants Quess East Bengal in their last outing and Irish strategist Paul Munster will be hoping to sustain that momentum on Sunday, to revive hopes of defending their title.

“We’ll stick to our plan. We’ll try to play our natural plan and churn out the result,” said Munster on match-day eve. He added, “The aim is all about getting the consistency. We got one chance and took it in the last game. Clean sheets are always great.”

Giving an insight into the state of his squad, Munster elaborated, “William is also a striker. Kuboki is coming back. We have midfielders who step up and score. We have three, sometimes four strikers who are capable of scoring.” He concluded with a warning, “Yes, our aim is to beat Chennai.”

The visitors, on the other hand, are in the midst of a super run, having won five of their seven games to remain unbeaten with 17 points. Singaporean coach Akbar Nawaz has recruited a pack of outstanding Spaniards, who between them have scored 12 of their 16 goals so far.

Nestor Jesus, a left-sided attacking midfielder, has been the pick of the players and has probably been the player of the league till now, having scored four with an equal number of assists. To add to that, their Indian players like Romario Jesuraj, Charles Lourdswamy, Ajith Kamraj and others have also been terrific in support.

Akbar seemed cautiously optimistic going into the game stating, “The environment at Chennai City has changed all together which got the positive results. It includes the support staff, players. We just want to go there are take all three points.”

Chennai have the better record in head-to-head clashes, having won two to Minerva’s one in their four encounters so far. Can Minerva draw level or will Chennai’s run continue? Sunday will have all the answers.




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Team News

Minerva Punjab FC

The Warriors do not have any major injury concerns at the moment. However, few tactical changes can be expected from Paul Munster against the league leaders.

Chennai City FC 

Going into the game, the southerners also does not have any absentees and are raring to go into the game against the defending champions.

Probable Lineups

Minerva Punjab FCArshdeep (GK), Njoku, Toure, Dahir, Akashdeep, Das, Moinuddin, Moirangthem, Opoku, Jorgeivan, Amandeep

Chennai City FC Santana (GK), Roberto, Sandro, Edwin, Jesuraj, Charles, Bora, Nestor, Ameerudeen, Kamaraj, Manzi

Broadcast

The match will be played at Tau Lal Devi Stadium on Sunday at 2 PM. It will be telecasted on Star Sports 3 and be available to stream on Hotstar and JioTV.

Published: Sat Dec 15, 2018 09:34 PM IST

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