I-League: Title aspirant Real Kashmir faces Indian Arrows challenge

Real Kashmir FC is placed third on the points table, five points shy of topper Chennai City FC and a win would help it leapfrog East Bengal to the second spot with 35 points from 17 games.

Real Kashmir is now third in the I-League table with 32 points.   -  AIFF

Real Kashmir FC will look to continue its rampaging run and get closer to the dream of winning the I-League title in its debut season when it clashes with Indian Arrows in Bhubaneswar Sunday.

Real Kashmir FC is placed third on the points table, five points shy of topper Chennai City FC and a win would help it leapfrog East Bengal to the second spot with 35 points from 17 games.

The visitor last played on February 6 with defending champion Minerva Punjab not turning up for its next home match at Srinagar on February 18 following the Pulwama terrors attack on February 14 which left 40 CRPF jawans dead.

Minerva had asked AIFF to postpone the game which the governing body refused, prompting the team to approach the High Court. AIFF referred the matter to its I-League Committee and a decision on whether Real Kashmir will receive full points is still pending.

RELATED | I-League: Minerva Punjab moves court after AIFF refuses to relocate tie

“Our preparation has been going good. We haven’t played for almost three weeks and now we are looking forward to another difficult game,” Real Kashmir coach David Robertson said.

“Thankfully we have no injury scares. They are a tough team and we experienced it when we played last time at the TRC ground in Srinagar. Although we won, it was a very tough match for us.

Robertson said his team will need to defend well. “We are moving forward and it will be a very very difficult team to break down and score against. I think if we defend well we can get the three points,” he said. “We have got an aspiration to not break our unbeaten run from the last 12 games, and if we can continue this result, you never know, what’s in store for us.”

RELATED | Minerva Punjab ends winless run, defeats NEROCA FC

With five clean sheets, the stellar defence line of the Indian Arrows has been one of the toughest to crack this season, Real Kashmir FC has been known for a stupendous run on the road. The Snow Leopards have so far remained unbeaten away from their home.

Real Kashmir had churned out a comfortable 2-0 win over the Arrows when they first met but coach Floyd Pinto has since worked on his team, resulting in some great results for the youngsters.

The Arrows are now placed 8th with 17 points from 18 games. Pinto said, “It’s not going to be an easy game for sure. They are one of the teams who are in contention to win the I-League this season and this game is a must-win game for them. We must keep ourselves organised and stick to the basics to win the three points. We hope to grab another three points and finish as high as possible in this season."

  Dugout videos