Neroca FC will go all guns blazing to secure all three points and remain in contention for the top spot when it hosts Mohun Bagan in the I-League on Friday.
Neroca is currently fourth on the I-League table with 15 points from nine games. The side is one rung above Mohun Bagan, which has the same number of points from an equal number of games, but Neroca has the better goal difference.
A win on Friday will take either of the teams equal on points with current league leader Chennai City FC, although that might change depending on the result of the day’s second game between East Bengal and Real Kashmir FC, which will follow the game in Imphal.
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Neroca, coached by Spaniard Manuel Fraile, is coming off a keenly contested goalless draw in its previous game against champion Minerva Punjab, but has been in good form, winning three on the trot before that.
Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, has bounced back strong from its derby loss against arch-rival East Bengal, with two wins in its last two games and it all adds up to a delicious contest.
The home side will be once again be looking for inspiration from its talismanic winger Yusa Katsumi. The Japanese has been instrumental in changing the fortunes of the Manipur side since coming back from injury.
Nigerian striker Felix Chidi has also scored four times in the league so far and will look to prise open the Mohun Bagan defence on Friday.
The Green and Maroons’ two front men, Cameroonian Aiser Dipanda Dicka and Ugandan Henry Kisekka, have scored four and three goals respectively, in the campaign and the Kolkata side will again look to them for succour.
Mohun Bagan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty will, however, know that Neroca has the tighter defence of the two sides, having conceded seven to Mohun Bagan’s 10 so far, and will want to guard against that, given Neroca’s fluent attacking line-up.
All in all, it will be a battle of attrition between two equally-matched teams in good form, and it will be interesting to see who emerges the victor.