Gokulam in search for first home win

Gokulam Kerala hasn't won any of its home matches so far, but its coach believes it's capable of beating its second-placed opponent.

A file picture of Bino George, coach of Gokulam Kerala FC, overseeing a training session.   -  i-league.org

Gokulam FC's home record this season in I-league has been pretty disappointing with the side unable to win any match in four attempts at the EMS Corporation stadium.

The host faces a tough opponent in the second-placed Minerva Punjab FC on Saturday as it hopes to reverse the trend. Coach Bino George has  blamed the little defensive errors and lack of finishing for the team's poor performance this season. "We are playing well and creating chances but we are unable to score goals. We have also made mistakes in defence which could have been avoided.  We hope to minimise the errors against a good side like Minerva which is currently placed second. But I think we are capable of beating them. We will play positively  for a win," he said.

Gokulam will again be without its captain Sushanth Mathew and midfielder Francis Ambani, who are both injured. But the side's defence will be boosted by the introduction of former Salgoacar player Balwinder.

I-league's all time highest scorer Odafa Okolie has been training with the side but the Nigerian has not got clearance from AIFF to play for Gokulam. "Odafa is a quality striker who can make a lot of difference. We are expecting the clearance to come soon so that he can play against Minerva tomorrow,." said Bino.

Read: Aizawl ends Minerva's unbeaten run

Minerva FC is coming into this match after suffering a defeat at the hands of Aizwal.  But the rest of 10 days has enabled players to recharge and prepare well. "We struggled in the altitude against Aizwal. But the boys played well. The 10 days break has helped us to reflect on our game and prepare well for the next match. Gokulam may not be playing well but they are a good side. At this level all teams are equal and we should not underestimate anyone. We will play hard and want to take full points from this tie, "  said Minerva coach Khigen Singh. 

Minerva's Bhutanese striker  Chencho Gyeltshen has been in good touch, scoring and assisting goals. The Gokulam's defence will have to neutalise Chencho's threat to make a match out of it.

  Dugout videos