Imphal, Jan 13: In what is set to be a must-win fixture for either side, Neroca FC will be hosting Real Kashmir FC at the Khuman Lampak Stadium on Tuesday (January 14).
Neroca have made an underwhelming start to their campaign, and sit a place above Indian Arrows at tenth in the standings, while Real Kashmir are eighth with five points and desperately need a win, if they are to mount any challenge for the coveted Hero I-League crown.
The orange brigade, despite having quality players in their ranks have found it difficult to gel as a cohesive unit. Up front, Boubacar Diarra and Zico Sekle have displayed sparks of their brilliance but have struggled to convert ability into consistency, while in midfield, Chanso Horam and Gaty Kouami have acted as a dependable pivot when on the pitch together, but other permutations have been preferred over the pair at times.
Reflecting on their defeat in the Imphal derby, Neroca FC forward Boubacar Diarra said, "When there is defeat, there is always a disappointment. It should serve as a lesson for the next derby. For now, we have to look ahead to the next game, and work hard towards earning three points."
On their opponents and how to neutralise them, he added, "We have to take Real Kashmir seriously. They have tall players and play long balls. We will take precautions and proceed with small passes and counterattacks."
The Snow Leopards have scored four headed goals in the league this season, serving as a testament to Diarra's verdict. However, the northerners have dropped five points from their last two games, making this fixture a must-win for them if they are to remain on course for a title race.
Commenting on what has been lacking in his side this season, Real Kashmir FC head coach David Robertson said, "We have been playing very well as a team. We are not getting the results we need but we are creating a lot of chances on goal, just not finishing them. I believe it has been working for us but we are switching off when conceding goals."
"Neroca are an incredible club and have great quality players. So it will not be easy, we just need to stay focused and stick to the game plan", he signed off.
Match kicks off at 2:00pm IST
Match will be broadcast live on the DSport Facebook page
Source: AIFF Release