Both teams have endured topsy-turvy campigns so far this season.
Former champions Aizawl FC will look to gain an advantage in the relegation dogfight as they visit Imphal, Manipur, on Sunday, January 27, 2019, for a North-East derby face-off against Neroca FC at the Khuman Lampak Stadium.
The first game of the day in the 12th Hero I-League is scheduled for an afternoon 2 pm IST start.
The visitors’ new coach Stanley Rosario has instilled a new sense of purpose since coming in. The addition of Ugandan Richard Kassaga has also bolstered the team and the visitors on the basis of their last performance against leaders Chennai will fancy their chances, especially given Neroca go into the clash after back to back defeats.
Stanley said, “It’ll be an interesting as well as a challenging game for us. It’s the Northeastern derby. The tactical challenges will be there. I’m confident that my boys will perform and they’re looking to a positive result as well. Neroca FC foreigners are very good players but we’ll play according to our strength.”
Aizawl scored thrice against Chennai a week back, mounting an impressive late comeback with two quality injury-time goals, yet again, displaying potential going down 4-3 eventually to the table toppers.
Neroca, under Spanish coach Manuel Fraile were not bad in their last game against Churchill Brothers away, leading for most parts of the game, before being felled by some Willis Plaza magic.
‘’To be honest, we play at home and we must get all three points. The preparation is going well. They also need three points so do we. The match is going to be a tough one for us. We have to enjoy the moment,” said Manuel at the pre-match press conference.
The hosts will look to quickly get their act together after having an impressive run in between if they want to harbour any hopes of a first title win.
They are on 21 points after 13 games and a victory on Sunday will keep them well and truly in the chasing pack.
Aizawl, on the other hand, will be fighting for pride as well as against the possibility of relegation, which their current 10th position with 10 points from 13 games, puts them in.
Their encounters have thus far not been high-scoring to say the least, with their last two fixtures, including the first leg this season, ending in goalless draws.
Given the context of Sunday’s clash though, one can easily bet against such a possibility.