Round 18 Preview: Aizawl FC look to create history in decisive final matchday
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
It all goes down to the wire in the final round as one team can do it for themselves while the other needs to do a bit of praying as well...
The I-League season draws to a close this weekend when Aizawl FC look to complete the impossible dream against the stubborn Shillong Lajong FC. The North-East club got a decisive win against Mohun Bagan in the last round and will look to go all the way. Mohun Bagan will be optimistic, as they could still win the league if Aizawl falter against Shillong Lajong.
In the other set of fixtures, Bengaluru FC host Churchill Brothers in an exciting fixture while East Bengal looks to retain their 3rd position against the relegated Mumbai FC. The remaining teams will fight for a respectable spot in the table and look to provide some happiness to their fans in the final game. But all eyes will be on the final two fixtures when Aizawl look to lift the I-League trophy high and complete the ultimate underdog story in this league's history.
Bengaluru FC vs Churchill Brothers (Prediction: 3-1)
Date & Venue: 29th April/ Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore
Time & Broadcast: 07:05 PM/ Ten 2
Bengaluru FC bulldozed past DSK Shivajians last week when the Blues put 7 past the hapless Pune-based side and asserted their dominance in the league. Sunil Chettri & co showed shades of the team which won the league last season and will look to continue this domination against Churchill Brothers this week. Albert Roca's men will look to finish on a high against another splendid outing and send their supporters home happy in their final home game of the I-League season.
Sunil Chhetri and Brandon Fernandes are set to be the creative lynchpins for Bengaluru FC and Churchill Brothers respectively
Churchill Brothers themselves had a terrific outing last week when they ran through Chennai City and won 6-1. Bektur Uulu Talgat was on target 4 times as Churchill put on a clinical show against the minnows. Bengaluru and Churchill will definitely be an amazing match due to both team's sensational goal-scoring form and attacking style, and with nothing to lose between them, this could be one of the more entertaining games this season has produced.
Mumbai FC vs East Bengal (Prediction: 1-2)
Date & Venue: 29th April/ Cooperage Stadium, Mumbai
Time & Broadcast: 07:05 PM/ I-League website
Mumbai FC felt the pain of relegation last week and despite getting a precious point against Shillong Lajong FC, they couldn't save themselves from drowning into the 2nd division. They have nothing else to lose and will look to take the game to East Bengal. Mumbai FC will look to end the season on a high and give their supporters some hope going into the next season and prove that they will be back soon enough.
East Bengal regained some form when they defeated Minerva Punjab 3-1 last weekend and Ranjan Bhattacharya seems to have rallied his troops well. Bengal has had a horrible past couple of weeks and will look to provide some joy to their fans by getting a comprehensive victory against minnows Mumbai FC. The Red and Gold Brigaders look to end their season strongly and make a defiant statement before the Federation Cup.
DSK Shivajians vs Minerva Punjab (Prediction: 4-1)
Date & Venue: 30th April/ Balewadi Stadium, Pune.
Time & Broadcast: 04:35 PM/ Ten 2
DSK Shivajians went through immense humiliation last week when they were destroyed by Bengaluru FC and lost 7-0. They will look to bounce back from the crushing defeat in their final home game of the season when Dave Rogers' men look to put the heat on Minerva Punjab. DSK aren't really that bad a team and will look to prove that by playing exciting football for their fans and sending them home happy in the final home game.
In a youth-heavy game, it will be a matter of which team holds the emotions better and finishes well
Minerva Punjab are loitering at the very bottom of the I-League and look absolutely tarnished right now. They might be saved from relegation, but that doesn't cover up a terrible season for the Warriors. Punjab can still salvage some pride if they can upset DSK, helping to give their supporters something to cheer about in this agonising season.
Mohun Bagan vs Chennai City FC (Prediction: 2-0)
Date & Venue: 30th April/ Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, Kolkata.
Time & Broadcast: 07:05 PM/ I-League website.
Mohun Bagan fell to a crushing defeat to title rivals Aizawl FC last week, seemingly putting an end to their title ambitions. The Mariners looked favourites at one point, but now they'll be hoping for a Shillong Lajong miracle. Bagan will need to be focused against Chennai City FC and will look to bounce back with an exhilarating victory and pile on more misery on Chennai. Even if they can't win the league, they'll look to repay the fans for their amazing support with an entertaining victory and end the season on a high.
Chennai City's bad luck continued when they were crushed by Churchill brothers after receiving a red card and actually looked promising before it. Chennai will look to spoil The Mariners mood with an amazing upset, which could turn many eyes to them as well as proving why they are not really that bad a side as many see them to be.
Shillong Lajong vs Aizawl FC (Prediction: 1-2)
Date & Venue: 30th April/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong
Time & Broadcast: 07:05 PM/ Ten 2
Shillong Lajong will not be afraid to play villains to Aizawl FC's heroic story this season and will look to go for the win this decisive game. As per coach Thangboi Santo, they will look to go for maximum points against Aizawl and will not go easy on them. With striker Asier Dipanda looking to secure his top-scorer prize, Shillong will be on the attack and will look to end this amazing dream of the Northeastern Club.
Aizawl FC are on the cusp of history as they can lift their first I-league trophy if they manage to secure a point against Shillong Lajong FC
Aizawl FC looks to complete their ultimate dream against Shillong Lajong this Sunday, but it will take some work for Khalid Jamil's team to get the job done. They will have to defend well against the dangerous Lajong attack, as well as provide entertainment for their own travelling fans. Aizawl will look to lift the I-League trophy aloft this Sunday, which will be the greatest story of an underdog in Indian football and an amazing achievement for the little North-Eastern club. The league leaders will be without Ashutosh Mehta and Alfred Jaryan who are both suspended
Published: Fri Apr 28, 2017 08:03 PM IST