I-League: Neroca faces Indian Arrows in must-win fixture

Neroca FC hasn't won any of the last three fixtures between these teams.

Neroca FC is fifth on the table with six wins and four losses in 14 matches.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Manipur-based Neroca FC takes on the Indian Arrows at Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium on Friday - a game it must to win to have a chance of achieving anywhere close to its second-place finish in its debut season (2017-18).

NEROCA has 22 points from 14 games so far, eight behind league leader Chennai City, and cannot afford any more slip-ups in the business end of the season.

Arrows is eighth on the table with 13 points from 14 games. It will fancy its chances at home, given NEROCA has faltered in the last three outings, losing two and drawing one.

Neroca’s Spanish coach Manuel Fraile will have to inspire his players after failing to put it across Aizawl at home last week as the Arrows is a dangerous side and good enough to take advantage of any opponent not at its best.

Fraile was positive in the pre-match press conference, saying, “The preparation is coming good. We are hoping to take the three points. It is a difficult team and the players are young. We are fighting to be on the top. We have a good team with experienced players. We lost with Mohun Bagan and Churchill in the past matches but we have a good fight which matters."

He added, "We have missed our chances sometimes. We are looking forward to give our best and also to enjoy the game of the local players. Eduardo and Aryn Williams are suspended for this match but football is a team game and the rest of the team has players who are mature and professionals.”

Floyd Pinto, the Arrows manager, was also positive in the pre-match press conference. “Happy to be back home. It was not a good experience when we played in NEROCA. No game is easy for us. If you look at the points table, we have been doing really well so far. The performance of the boys have been improving as the season has gone on but now we have reached that stage where we have to get points as well and I am sure we're going to have a good performance tomorrow. Either we keep a clean sheet or score one goal more than NEROCA."

Both teams are known to play flowing football and it should be an absorbing battle at the Kalinga on Friday.

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