A resounding start boosting its confidence in the maiden season, Real Kashmir FC will seek its first win at home when it takes on Manipur’s Neroca FC in an I-League match on Sunday.
Real Kashmir began its debut season in a stunning fashion by beating defending champion Minerva Punjab 1-0 in Panchkula but the Srinagar-based side was denied a dream start at home with Churchill Brothers holding it to a goal-less draw.
Scottish coach David Robertson will rue the fact that his team could not pull off a win at home despite its opponents playing with 10 men for the entire second half. Over-dependence on Ivorian striker Gnohere Krizo, who netted the winner against Minerva, was observed and coach Robertson might look to correct that at the TRC ground on Sunday.
Real Kashmir’s four-man back line led by the coach’s son Mason Robertson and captain Loveday Okechukwu looked dependable, but more impetus needs to come from the midfield, where the likes of Zambian Aaron Katebe and Ivorian Bazie Armand will have to do better than the previous game.
Goalkeeper Bilal has kept a clean sheet till now and has brought about some very good saves, which would be handy against an attack-minded Neroca side.
A win will put Real Kashmir level on points with table toppers Chennai City FC.
“We are excited for tomorrow. It will be a new experience, a new challenge and a tough game. Our players are confident facing a new team all over again. There is no pressure but we want to make sure we don’t disappoint our spectators. We are a hard-working team overall, and I have full faith on my team to give their best on the pitch,” said coach Robertson at pre-match media conference."
Neroca FC is still in search of its first victory in what will be its fourth game of the season. It has drawn two and lost one till now.
Neroca’s worries stem from its misfiring forwards and the only goal it has scored so far in the campaign has come from central defender Eduardo Ferriera of Brazil, who missed his previous game against Aizawl after picking up an injury in warm up.
Singham Subash Singh, who scored four times in his debut campaign last year, has lost his place in the starting eleven. Nigerian Felix Chidi, who had seven goals last year, has also not opened his account this season.
It remains to be seen if Japanese winger Katsumi Yusa, who also went out with an injury in the opener against East Bengal, and Eduardo, are fit and back for service.
Speaking before the game, Neroca FC coach Manuel Fraile said, “We want three points from Kashmir, that’s more important for us. We have time to improve our mistakes. My team is working good and we will look forward to score goals.
“It’s cold here but that’s not an issue for us. We have to be focused on our game plan. We will enjoy the game and we hope we have a good crowd tomorrow, for us as well as for the home side.”
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