I-League: Strike partnerships in focus as Punjab hosts Gokulam

There is very little to choose between Punjab and Gokulam, and a win on Monday will mean a serious I-League title boost for both sides.

Punjab is a point ahead of Gokulam kerala in the I-League table.   -  AIFF MEDIA

In what could turn out to be a very important contest in the overall scheme of things, Punjab FC hosts Kerala’s Gokulam Kerala FC in a key I-League clash at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on Monday.

There is very little to choose between the two sides as Punjab on the back of a seven-game unbeaten streak is currently placed second on the points table with 11 points from eight games. Gokulam, meanwhile, has won 50% of its six games so far to lie fourth with 10 points. A win on Monday will mean a serious title boost for both sides.

Continuing with the similarities, both Punjab and Gokulam have scored 10 times and both rely on two foreign attackers for a bulk of their goals. For the host, the pair of Cameroonian Dipanda Dicka and Brazilian Sergio Barboza have scored six between them, while Trinidadian Marcus Joseph and Ugandan Henry Kisekka have notched up seven strikes for the visitor so far.

Dicka gave an insight into the pairs and Punjab’s thinking a day before the game saying, “It will be a very difficult game, but we play at home. I think both Kisekka and I will do our best to be able to win this match to continue up there fighting for the title.”

Also sharing his thoughts for Gokulam was Joseph, Gokulam Kerala's captain, “We need to hold our nerve and make sure there are no mistakes that we did in our last few matches are repeated. The win against East Bengal has lifted the morale and we need to keep the momentum going. If we don’t commit mistakes, I think we would be able to win the match and take all three points.

On being asked about him being an inspiration for the other players, Joseph humbly played it down and said, “It is all about teamwork and combining well with the players to win the match. All the players are putting great effort and with their collective help, we are able to win matches. We train hard and the collective effort is our inspiration to play beautifully.

When it comes to defence as well, while Punjab has conceded 10, two more than its visitor, it has two clean-sheets to show which is one better than Gokulam.

All indicators point towards a close contest at the Ludhiana, come Monday afternoon.

The game is scheduled for an afternoon 2 pm kick-off and will be broadcast Live on Dsport and FanCode.

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