I-League: Misfiring Minerva hosts Aizawl FC

Minerva Punjab will face relegation-threatened Aizawl FC on Friday as it looks to move from its seventh place in the table.

It is a must-win game for Aizawl FC given it has picked just two points from its past three games.   -  AIFF MEDIA

Defending champion Minerva Punjab takes on former champions Aizawl FC at Panchkula’s Tau Devi Lal stadium on Friday, February 1, 2019, in a battle for pride, scheduled to kick-off at 2 PM IST.

Minerva is currently placed seventh on the points table with 14 points from as many games has endured a torrid season. Meanwhile, Aizawl FC is languishing in the relegation zone, lying in 10th place with 11 points from 14 games.

The host's profligacy has put it out of the title race, with two of the seven goals it has scored so far coming in the first leg win against Aizawl.

Minerva coach Paul Munster has played six strikers over 14 matches, but none of them have yielded the desired results as the champion looks forward to its AFC Champions League campaign.

Speaking at the press conference, Munster said, “The mood has been very good since we have been bringing in the new players. It also increases the level of the players as seen in training. Just seeing the quality of the pitch and knowing what we have to do to master and can be better, it shows the positivity. Now that we have got new attacking players, so there will be some changes in the team. Our team confidence levels have increased.”

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Minerva has bought Spaniard Juan Quero and Syrian Mahmoud Al Amna and it remains to be seen if and how they are utilised in the game.

Scoring has not been Aizawl’s main problem however and two of their strikers, Liberian Ansumanah Kromah and Mapuia, have been among the league’s top scorers with four goals apiece.

New coach Stanley Rosario’s main concern will be to get their defensive act going and to build a compact formation.

His views in the pre-game presser were, “We are looking forward in a positive way for tomorrow's match. Of course, they are the champions of last season but this year even they have been struggling like us. It is a big match and is going to be an interesting match. We have come here with a positive mindset to take away the three points.“

It is a must-win match for relegation-threatened Aizawl as it has picked up two points in its last three games.