Aizawl visits Shivajians in do-or-die clash

Sitting eighth in the league table with 13 points, the highlanders play their final game of the I-League at the Balewadi Sports Complex Stadium against the revamped DSK Shivajians, which is on a seven-match unbeaten run.

Both Aizawl FC and DSK Shivajians made their I-League debuts this season.   -  I-League

Newcomer Aizawl FC, fighting against relegation, goes into Saturday's against the DSK Shivajians with the odds stacked against it.

Sitting eighth in the league table with 13 points, the highlanders play their final game of the I-League at the Balewadi Sports Complex Stadium against the revamped DSK Shivajians, which is on a seven-match unbeaten run. For the host, some solid performances away from its own backyard has increased the confidence in the dressing room and it would hope to sign off with nothing less than a win.

Impressive performances from its mid-season signings Juan Quero and Sandesh Jhingan have had a positive impact on the quality of football of Derrick Pereira's team. The Ivorian Douhou Pierre up front, has tallied for a stack-load of goals for this Pune-based outfit and this team that once looked hapless, is now proving to be a force to reckon with.

“In the start, many of our players were not used to each other's playing styles, but as the season progressed, we grew as a team and our performances have improved. Even against Bagan, we didn't lose heart and kept the belief going that we could come back with a positive result,” Pereira said in today's pre-match press conference.

He also stated that he has a completely fit lineup and he will be fielding the best XI possible. Nikhil Kadam also recovered from a treacherous knee injury and is back in contention and may feature against Aizawl FC tomorrow.

Visiting coach Jahar Das is confident ahead of this game and he has praised the quality of the opposition tomorrow. “DSK Shivajians are also a new team like us and they have drastically improved over the course of the I-League. Being a new team, it takes us time to adapt to the higher level of the teams and believe we have it in us to stay up and contest for the I-League next season,” said Johar Das in the press conference.

There are a few injuries in the Aizawl squad, but all of them, according to the coach, are minor setbacks and he too has a full string of players to select from.