I-League Second Divison: Real Kashmir, Hindustan eye promotion in shootout game

Real Kashmir and Hindustan FC will face-off in the final round of the I-League Second Division fixture for a place in next season's I-League.

Real Kashmir players celebrating a goal against Ozone FC   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

A place in next season's I-League will be up for grabs as Real Kashmir and Hindustan FC face-off in the final round fixture of the Second Division League at the FSV Arena in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Although it’s virtual final, Real Kashmir enters the match with an upper hand. Both teams sit on four points each in the table with Kashmir topping the table on the maximum goals scored. Hindustan needs to win at any cost and a draw would prove insufficient.

Nonetheless, Kashmir has a hard task at hand as it faces a well organised Hindustan side, which is competitive at both ends of the pitch, but coach David Robertson ensured that Real Kashmir has a sound game plan backed by players who will be able to withstand the pressure of the occasion.

While Kashmir performed well against TRAU in its 2-2 draw, it wasn’t its best performance as it missed some vital opportunities in front of goal, while allowing its opponent the space it needed to get in behind and finish.

PositionTeamsMatchesWinsDrawsLossesGFGAGDPoints
1Real Kashmir21105414
2Hindustan FC21103214
3Ozone FC201145-11
4TRAU201123-11

 

What Kashmir do have in its favour is the likes of Nadong Bhtiua, Ifham Tariq and Yao Kouassi Bernard who can do the business up-front, while midfielder Danish Farooq will need to be at the top of his game in order to keep the team’s dream of making the I-League a reality.

Kashmir is vulnerable at the back, which Robertson warns must change. The Scottish mastermind insists his players cannot afford to worry about their opposition, indicating the key to their success will be to execute their own game plan.

“If we concentrate on our performance then the results will take care of itself,” said Robertson.

For Kashmir to accomplish its mission, senior players like Nadong Bhutia, Sukhwinder Singh, Atinder Mani and Loveday Enyinnaya must raise their hands because the team is largely inexperienced.

On the other hand, Hindustan’s campaign looked perhaps a little less convincing. The men from the capital were made to work hard for their win against TRAU before playing out a 2-2 draw with Ozone FC despite leading twice. Hindustan is still shy of rhythm and needs more assertiveness in attack.

However, coach Vikrant Sharma’s belief is that his side can be much more efficient in front of goal.

“It’s the decisive match; if we can get full three points we will go to the I-League and like I have said in the past: my aim is to win every game, so against Real Kashmir, my team will be going all out,” said Sharma.

Sharma, who has successfully transformed Hindustan into a force to be reckoned with, will be hoping for another strong performance from his charges against a side which he believes will provide a stern challenge.

“Real Kashmir is a team that is well put together. I think they are very direct they are happy to sit back and defend but they are also dangerous going forward. It will be a tough match but we back ourselves to get a result,” he added.

While Kashmir possesses a more aggressive attack which knows how to turn it on when it needs to, Hindustan’s advantage is that it has worked together as a unit longer than its opponent which is with a new set-up. However, this is a game that demands composure and cool heads.

Interestingly, these two teams were pooled together in Group A during the preliminary stage with both of their matches ending in the stalemate.

Kick-off at 5:45 pm.

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