I-League 2018: Aizawl eyes win against Northeastern rival Neroca

Aizawl FC will look to register its first win against Neroca FC and get out of the danger zone with a victory in Wednesday's Northeastern derby.

Aizawl FC, currently ninth in the I-League's points table, will look to move out of the danger zone with a win over Neroca FC.   -  AIFF MEDIA

Former champions Aizawl FC will eye its maiden victory in the new I-League season when it faces off against neighbours Neroca FC in the Northeastern derby at home on Wednesday.

This will be Aizawl’s first home game of the season while contrastingly for Neroca, it will be its first away encounter.

Both sides are languishing at the bottom of the table with identical returns of a draw and a loss in their two previous games so far.

In the previous edition, which was also Neroca’s debut, the two neighbours met twice and it was the side from Manipur which managed to edge out Aizawl in one encounter while the other ended goalless.

Aizawl did exceedingly well to salvage a point from its last game away at Kolkata against Mohun Bagan, thanks to a stunning free-kick by ‘super sub’ David Lalrinmuana in the dying minutes.

Read: Aizawl FC holds Mohun Bagan

Neroca, on the other hand, will be smarting from the fact that its two opening games at home could deliver only a point.

Both coaches, however, Aizawl’s Gift Raikhan and Neroca’s Spanish recruit Manuel Fraile, will be desperately hoping that their forwards begin to fire.

Besides Mapuia’s strike against Bagan and David’s free-kick, Aizawl’s foreign strikers Ansumanah Kromah and Zikahi Dodoz have not been in the best of form. Kromah scored off a penalty in the first game against Shillong while Dodoz has failed to open his account and even lost his place in the starting eleven against Mohun Bagan.

“Our preparation is going good, we are ready to face Neroca FC tomorrow. I know them very closely and I respect them as a team,” Raikhan, who will face his former side, said at the pre-match conference.

“David is a good player but I focus on every player in our team. Not only David but there are many players who will be my key players this time,” he added.

Neroca has also had the same problem with forwards Felix Odili Chidi and Singham Subhash Singh yet to open their goalscoring account. Regular substitute Ronald Singh has also not registered his name on the scoresheet so far and Neroca’s only goal so far has come from Brazilian centre-back Eduardo Ferreira.

“We are focused on stealing three points tomorrow. Our team is prepared to face the challenge against Aizawl. They are a very strong team and we should be careful before taking any risk,” Ronald said.

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