I-League: Arrows out to avenge NEROCA defeat

The margin of victory was slender as Neroca FC won 2-1 but the game in Goa could be a very different affair.

The Luis Norton de Matos-led side has once again made Goa its home as it faces Neroca FC which has exceeded all expectations by sitting in third place in the table.   -  PTI

Indian Arrows would be looking to avenge its defeat in the reverse fixture as it welcomes NEROCA FC on Tuesday.

The margin of victory was slender as Neroca FC won 2-1 but the game in Goa could be a very different affair. The Luis Norton de Matos-led side has once again made Goa its home as it faces Neroca FC which has exceeded all expectations by sitting in third place in the table.

“It is all about action and commitment. So my team always wants to be on top. Like how we are doing now. So we will try our best. Maybe here it is a little bit different. The weather and it’s a different place. But the commitment is same from the beginning,” NEROCA FC coach Gift Raikhan said on the eve of the match.

However, the coach doesn’t want his players to take Arrows lightly. The young side comes into the game full of confidence after its victory against Gokulam Kerala FC that helped it get back to winning ways.

“Indian Arrows is not an easy team. That’s why they are doing very good. Back to back they are winning. The young lads have a lot of energy and are dynamic. They are doing very good. But football is football,” he said.

Meanwhile, his counterpart Luis Norton de Matos sounded about his team’s effort so far.

“If you told me in the beginning that we will have ten points from ten games, I think it is very honest for the team with our reality. One point each game, in all competitions if you get one point then you never go down in the division,” the Portuguese coach said.

The team has recorded three wins and one draw which also had some big results such as the 1-1 draw against Mohun Bagan. “Of course we will try to get more points. My feeling is we can get 12-13 points with the remaining games we have. Three wins and one draw, and the quality of some games we played, I think it is very positive until now in the competition.

"Maybe God must be protecting the team because you are playing against foreign players and senior players and sometimes you can lose 5-6 nil they are prepared for that,” Matos suggested.

The Arrows side has shown this season that it is ready to fight until the end and the match, like it did against Neroca as it gave the Manipuri side a scare with an 89th minute goal.

“I’m happy with the way this team plays. They play with passion,” he added.

Both teams have been impressive so far this season as the League has reached the half-way stage and the performances of both teams has not gone unnoticed. Neroca’s title tilt is reminiscent of Aizwal’s season last year but its coach is cautious.

“Every coach wants to be on top and every player likes to give a performance. We have shown that as we are third now. That’s why players are playing good that’s why we are there. There is a long way to go. It is only halfway. But anything can happen in football,” Raikhan signed off.

The match is scheduled at 08:00 PM and it will be telecast on Star Sports 2/2 HD and streamed live on Hotstar and Jio TV.