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Round 14 Preview: Aizawl FC chase dream title as heavyweights try to keep pace

Written by: Mrunal Nakashe

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Teams hope to sign off on a winning note as the league takes a break for international football...

Another full set of fixtures is set to take place this weekend in the I-League and it should make for interesting action as it is the last set of games before the league takes a break for international matches. A lot of coaches can be shown the exit door as the clubs will be looking to go full throttle in the final phase of the league.

Aizawl FC are currently leading the league table and are followed by Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. The break can help clubs like Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan as they’ve juggled between the league and the AFC Cup campaigns. With five games remaining, it will be interesting to see the approach all coaches take before they go on this break and India plays its Asian Cup Qualifier against Myanmar.

DSK Shivajians vs Mumbai FC

Date and Venue: 11th March/ Shree Chhatrapati Shivaji Sports Complex

Time & Broadcast: 04:35 PM Ten 2

The weekend kicks-off with the Maha Derby as DSK Shivajians host regional rivals Mumbai FC. This is a massive game for both teams. Shivajians are without a win in five, while Mumbai FC are now without success in 11 games. The hosts have delivered some good performances, but the inconsistency in results means they are in the bottom half of the table. Meanwhile bottom of the table Mumbai are desperate for a win as boss Santosh Kashyap battles the toughest phase of his career.

Mumbai FC hold a slight edge with two wins to one in the three games played between the teams. Last time out Shivajians battered league leaders Aizawl only to suffer a narrow defeat, while the Yellow Submarines conceded a late equalizer in the 2-2 draw against Mohun Bagan.

Minerva Punjab vs Aizawl FC

Date and Venue: 11th March/Guru Nanak Stadium



Time & Broadcast: 04:35 PM I-league website

Leaders Aizawl FC continue their road trip as they take on Minerva Punjab in Ludhiana concurrent to the game in Pune. The Northeast club are having a dream season within nine wins from their 13 games and are two points clear at the top of the table.

Minerva Punjab come into the game on the back of successive defeats against Shillong Lajong and Bengaluru FC and have just one win in their last five. Aizawl won the only previous top-flight meeting between the two teams which took place in the Northeast earlier this season.

Bengaluru FC vs Mohun Bagan

Date and Venue: 11th March/ Sree Kanteerava Stadium

Time & Broadcast: 07:05 PM Ten 2

The Saturday evening clash between Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan at Kanteerava Stadium is undoubtedly the match of the round. The reigning champions have struggled to find form all season in what is Albert Roca's first campaign at the helm. Their win against Minerva last weekend was their first in six weeks, although they could only follow it up with a disappointing 1-1 draw against southern rivals Chennai City in midweek.

Opponents Bagan have two games in hand over their rivals thanks to their continental commitments. But, the Mariners have struggled for consistency with just one win in their last five. Moreover, with Darryl Duffy injured and Jeje Lalpekhlua out of form, the attacking burden has fallen almost exclusively on star man Sony Norde. Surprisingly the Blues have a poor head-to-head against the Mariners with just one win in seven previous meetings.

Churchill Brothers SC vs Shillong Lajong FC

Date and Venue: 12th March/ Fatorda Stadium

Time & Broadcast: 04:35 PM Ten 2

On Sunday, Churchill Brothers host Shillong Lajong in the meeting of two of the league's form teams. Lajong are flying high in fourth place in the standings and picked up their second away win of the season against Minerva in midweek. Meanwhile, after one win 10 games Churchill have now won their last three under new manager Derrick Pereira. The Reds won the reverse fixture earlier in the campaign.

Chennai City FC vs East Bengal

Date and Venue: 12th March/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai

Time & Broadcast: 07:05 PM Ten 2

In the final game of the weekend, second-placed East Bengal travel to Chennai City on the back of a shock defeat against the Red Machines. Even after a change of management, the southern outfit are stuck second from bottom and although they have rarely bee outplayed, results haven't come easy. The Red and Gold are seeking a maiden I-League title and this could be a potential banana skin for Trevor Morgan's men.

 

Published: Fri Mar 10, 2017 07:07 PM IST

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