OCTOBER 30, IMPHAL: Gokulam Kerala FC faces Neroca FC in their first away match at Khuman Lampak Main Stadium in Imphal on Wednesday.
Riding on the astounding second-half performance in their opening match against Mohun Bagan, which earned them a 1-1 draw in Kozhikode, Gokulam Kerala FC aims nothing other than a win in their second match. The team also wants to rewrite their winless record – Gokulam lost 3-0 in the home and 1-0 in away last year against Neroca – with an emphatic performance against the Manipur side.
The match will also be special for Pritam Singh, the right winger, and former Neroca player, who played a major role in turning around Gokulam’s fortunes against Mohun Bagan. He played a crucial role in Neroca’s victory last year against Gokulam in Kozhikode with a beautiful goal and now in Gokulam colors, he faces his home club.
Another substitute Rajesh S is also expected to start the match. However, Antonio German’s presence in the matchday squad is doubtful because of a small injury concern.
“This is our first away match and I think it will be difficult to play here. The crowd here comes in numbers and they act like a 12th player for them. It is a huge challenge to play here but I think my boys are confident. We had a tough game against Mohun Bagan in the opening match and we have realized what our mistakes our,” said Bino George, the head coach of Gokulam Kerala FC.
“We have good players and they will give 100 percent for the team tomorrow. Last year we lost both the matches against Neroca and they finished I Leauge runners-up. A match against them will prove our strengths,” he said.
“Neroca play wonderful football. And we have not won against them. This is a motivation for us to defeat them. We want to continue our good form and an away win will help us to prepare further for the season,” said Muhammed Rashid, vice-captain of Gokulam Kerala FC.
Meanwhile, Neroca FC faces Gokulam after a 2-0 home defeat against East Bengal. “Last match we played better than East Bengal. But we were not able to make use of our opportunities. I think we should capitalize on their mistake. We should not allow them to play with more ball,” said Neroca FC’s head coach Manuel Retamero Fraile.
Match Day: October – 31
Venue: Khuman Lampak Main Stadium
Time: 2 PM
Live Telecast: Star Sports 3, Hotstar.