Defending champion Minerva Punjab will hope to resurrect its faltering I-League campaign with a win against Indian Arrows when the two sides lock horns at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Panchkula, on Saturday.
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Minerva has just one win in five matches so far, but will be buoyed with its spirited performance against Shillong Lajong in its last contest last week. Despite having been reduced to 10 men, the team avoided a defeat. Moreover, Ghanaian striker William Opoku, who had scored five times last season, has opened his account; and midfielder Philip Njoku has been playing with a lot of purpose and penetration in the last two games.
Looking ahead to the contest, Paul Munster, Minerva Punjab FC head coach, said, “We are happy to come back home. We have taken the positives from our last game. Our first half was really tough, but even after going down to 10 men, our boys recovered and scored. In my opinion, it's a very big result, but now, it's a must-win game for us tomorrow at home.”
“We are creating lots of chances. It's just the strikers who should believe in themselves and converting those chances. We just have to work harder,” he added.
It has been a tough season for Arrows, too. Like Minerva, Arrows has a single victory in the league, and languishes at the bottom of the points table. Looking ahead to Saturday’s contest, head coach Floyd Pinto said, “It’s always motivational to play against the defending champions. The boys are motivated and we are looking forward to a great game of football. You also need to understand that every season is different. We have changed our style a bit. We were dominating the possession against Real Kashmir (in the last contest) and although we didn’t get a win there, I’m happy with the game.”
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He added, “We go to every game to win. The results don’t always reflect the game. They have shown their character in the last match. They have the agility, the zeal and we have to cautious throughout.”
The contest begins at 2 pm.