I-League: Real Kashmir, Aizawl lock horns

Both sides would go into the game after wins in their previous encounters, setting the stage for an absorbing clash at the TRC Turf ground.

Real Kashmir players during a practice session.   -  NISSAR AHMAD

Buoyed by its maiden victory at home in its previous match, I-League debutant Real Kashmir FC would look to build a winning momentum when it takes on former champion Aizawl FC on Wednesday.

Both sides would go into the game after wins in their previous encounters, setting the stage for an absorbing clash at the TRC Turf ground.

Real Kashmir is currently placed seventh on the points table with seven points from five games while the Mizoram side is languishing at the ninth position with five points from six.

However, Aizawl notched up its first win of this season in its last game against East Bengal in an impressive display and will also look to keep the momentum going.

For the home side, Wednesday’s match will be its fifth on the trot at home. It has won one (2-0 against Indian Arrows), lost two and drawn one. It would be looking to notch up a win to jump to the top half of the table.

Real Kashmir has proved that it can be dangerous on its day and Scottish coach David Robertson has also shown a welcome penchant for brave experimentation, playing central defenders as strikers in the previous game against the Indian Arrows.

But, it remains to be seen if he is willing to take such chances against a more experienced Aizawl.

“Aizawl would be playing with confidence because they defeated East Bengal in their last match which is not an easy task. Aizawl is a very technical team, they play quick football and they have some fantastic strikers. However, it is really difficult to break our defence,” Robertson said at the pre-match press conference.

Aizawl’s head coach Gift Raikhan, on the other hand, may be narrowing in on a settled line-up now and his two front men Leonce Dodoz and Mapuia are now looking dangerous and both should start at the TRC on Wednesday afternoon.

“Tomorrow’s match is going to be very exciting. We will be playing with a positive mind set and carry on the winning spirit. We will carry on with the momentum that we picked up against East Bengal,” said Raikhan.

Alluding to the cold conditions in Srinagar, Raikhan said, “It doesn’t make any difference where we are playing because Aizawl’s altitude is also very high.”