I-League: Chennai City in search of killer instinct against Punjab

After a winning start to the new season, defending champion Chennai City FC will travel north to take on Punjab FC in the I-League.

Adolfo Miranda (R) scored the winner in Chennai City's 1-0 triumph over TRAU.   -  M. Periasamy

It is exactly nine months since the last time these two teams -- Punjab FC and Chennai City FC -- last met in the I-League which decided the fate of the title last time out. Punjab was better known as Minerva Punjab FC when it went down 1-3 in Coimbatore to Chennai City on the final day of the season which handed it a maiden I-League crown.

On Tuesday, the defending champion will be travelling up north for its second fixture this term, as it takes on Punjab at the Guru Nanak Stadium, Ludhiana.

Punjab has registered just a point from its opening two fixtures, having lost 0-3 to Churchill Brothers FC Goa followed by a 1-1 draw against East Bengal at home. The host led against East Bengal for the majority of the game, only to be denied three points by a late equaliser from Juan Mera.

Reflecting on the positives from that match, Yan Law, Punjab's head coach, said, “We had a fantastic game against East Bengal and we dominated the entire game. We created many chances and unfortunately couldn’t convert them. The late equaliser wasn’t expected as our defence was rock solid the entire game.”

Looking forward to hosting the defending champion, he further added, “The boys are confident about the next game against Chennai City FC and we are not going to make the same mistakes we made in the previous matches.

Gaurva Bora (centre) was the hero in Chennai City's 3-1 win over Punjab FC in the title decider. PHOTO: S. SIVA SARAVANAN

 

“We are not much worried about their attack as we have quality defenders in our team and they have worked very hard for this game. We are surely looking for a positive result.”

Chennai City, on the other hand, has played only one match this season, having not been in action in Round 2. The southerners won 1-0 at home against newcomer TRAU FC on the opening weekend and will be looking to step up a few gears to find their killer instinct in front of goal.

Speaking ahead of the match, coach Akbar Nawas looked back on his side’s performance in its opening fixture and said, “We have to continue to improve our game in every match we play. It’s always a learning curve for us.”

The match is scheduled for a 2 pm IST kick-off and will be broadcast LIVE on I-League official Facebook page.

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