Kozhikode, November 3, 2018: Gokulam Kerala FC will play host to Chennai City FC at the EMS Corporation stadium in Kozhikode on Sunday, November 4, 2018. The eleventh game of the 12th Hero I-League edition kicks off at 5 PM.
The two southern India sides are unbeaten in the league so far with the visitors placed second in the standings after two games with four points courtesy a thumping 4-1 victory over the Indian Arrows in their opening encounter before being held to a 2-2 draw by Goa’s Churchill Brothers FC.
The hosts will, likewise, play their third game of the league but are placed fifth with two points after drawing both their opening games by an identical 1-1 margin against Mohun Bagan and Neroca FC respectively.
The home team is. however, ahead on head-to-head encounters having won one of the two games between the two so far while the other game was drawn.
Gokulam will be happy to be back amongst their passionate fans as coach Bino George looks to settle the team down after collecting their first-ever point against Neroca in the previous game. He had made four changes to the starting eleven in the Imphal game, suggesting an ongoing search for the right combination.
He had to quickly revert to teenager Baoringdao Bodo, who had started in the Mohun Bagan game at home, as early as half an hour into the first half against Neroca. The youngster obliged by scoring in the game.
Bino was forthcoming in his observations ahead of the game commenting, “After taking charge last month, I have emphasised on working relentlessly to reach the next level. Although we have played good in our last two matches, we have a lot to do to reach that level.”
Chennai arrive in Kerala after a hard-fought draw against Churchill Brothers FC Goa at home. Singaporean gaffer Akbar Nawas. however, will be happy with the efforts of his foreign signings thus far.
Even Gokulam coach Bino made touched upon this point when he said, “Chennai foreigners have done great so far and they spoil anyone’s party on a given day.”
Uruguay-born Spaniard Pedro Manzi helped himself to a hattrick in their opening game while fellow Spaniards Nestor Jesus and Sandro also got on the scoresheet against Churchill in the next game.
Akbar Nawaz, the Chennai City coach sounded quite pragmatic in the pre-match press conference observing, “We need to take every game as they come and prepare to be competitive. Everyone saw how the locals fought against a physical team like Churchill in our last game as well as the foreigners. It was team effort last game and will be a team effort tomorrow as well.”
Gokulam will be wary of the fact that their opponents have already scored six times in their two games so far while they have only one player on the scorers’ list with the other goal accorded to them being an own goal.
Home support in such a situation would be vital and coach Bino also eluded to the same when he signed off saying, “We have had a great support in our first home match. It’s always encouraging playing in front of a full house and the welcome we have got was something outstanding. Now the onus is on us to repay them.”