Aizawl FC faces Punjab FC in battle between former champions

Aizawl FC is sixth on the table with five points. Punjab FC, on the other hand, has been in fine fettle, notching up seven points from a possible nine.

Aizawl FC hosts Punjab FC at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on Thursday.

Aizawl FC will be eying its first home win of the season when it faces Punjab FC in an I-League match between two former champions at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium here on Thursday.

Aizawl FC played out a 1-1 draw against defending champion Chennai City FC in its previous outing at home, a result which put the team at sixth place in the table with five points. It had played out a goal-less draw against Mohun Bagan at home in the season opening match.

The 2016-17 I-League champion has an exciting young squad at its disposal but has lacked in terms of tenacity and scoring goals.

Players like William Lalnunfela and Joe Zoeherliana have caused serious trouble to their opponents, with the former having already found the back of the net twice. However, Aizawl’s strike force have struggled to display any killer instinct so far.

Speaking ahead of the match, head coach Stanley Rozario said, “As the league is progressing, my young players are also getting better. I’m happy with the performance of my team so far. We have won an away match and drawn two home matches against Mohun Bagan and defending champions Chennai City FC.”

“Against Mohun Bagan and Chennai City, we created many scoring opportunities but we could not convert them. My new Malian striker Kanoute is hospitalised and I’m managing with young Mizoram players. They are working hard and they will definitely start converting the scoring chances. I hope my players will give their best and try to score and win against Punjab FC.”

Punjab FC, on the other hand, has been in fine fettle, notching up seven points from a possible nine, making the most of a favourable run of three fixtures on the trot at home. However, in the only time it played outside Ludhiana this season, the team lost 0-3 to Churchill Brothers FC.

Head coach Yan Law weighed in on the importance of earning its first away win.

“All our games are very important, but this one against Aizawl is slightly different as we need to win this game and get our first away points,” he said.

Yan, who turns 27 on December 24, has already mentioned to his players what he wants on his birthday.

“Things are looking very positive at this moment and a win will give me tremendous joy as that is what I asked the boys for my birthday. It will take us to the top of the table.”

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