Former titlist Aizawl FC will take on defending champion Chennai City FC in an interesting mid-table clash at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl on Tuesday. There is an added interest among the home fans about the match as it will be the inaugural I-League encounter under the newly-installed floodlights.
Aizawl FC, which is currently placed sixth with four points, retained the local supremacy winning the Mizoram Premier League (MPL) crown at the same venue barely two days ago. Head coach Stanley Rozario hoped his boys take the confidence of the MPL triumph across to the I-league assignment. “The way the boys showed great determination and character to win the MPL, I hope they continue their good work in the I-League, though it has its own demands being a different kind of a tournament,” Rozario said.
“Considering our engagements in the MPL and the I-League, the team has played six matches in the last 15 days where they won four, drew one and lost one. I give credit to my boys for their adaptability and resilience they showed in getting some positive results,” he added.
Chennai City FC, which is placed seventh with three points from two matches, enjoyed some rest following the loss against Punjab FC (1-3) at the latter’s home in Ludhiana. Head coach Akbar Nawas said his side is undergoing a rebuilding phase having lost at least nine players after the team’s crowning last season. “We are a very new team as a lot of players have left. The team is on the learning curve and it will take some time for us to get the continuity against some of the bigger clubs in the tournament. So we are taking one match at a time and not thinking about the title which at this moment is in the realm of impossibility,” Nawas said.
Saying that a team can wish for consistency only when it is able to retain the nucleus of the squad, Nawas wished his team regroups quickly. “Our current situation is in the minus and on paper we are lesser than even the weakest side in the tournament. Even last year winning the title came as a bonus and this time we have to start from scratch again. We have to be realistic in football as a team needs time to combine as a winning unit,” Nawas said adding that injuries to Spaniards like Sandro Rodriguez and Fito Miranda is putting the side under greater pressure.
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