De­fend­ing champs Min­erva take on for­mer win­ners

The Hitavada - - SPORTS -

FOR­MER cham­pi­ons Aizawl FC play their sec­ond home game on the bounce at the Ra­jiv Gandhi Sta­dium, host­ing de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Min­erva Pun­jab FC in the Hero I-League on Sat­ur­day. Both find them­selves at the bot­tom of the 11-team stand­ing in the early stages. Aizawl are placed ninth with two points from three games while Min­erva are right at the bot­tom with a soli­tary point from their two out­ings so far.

Both Aizawl coach Gift Raikhan and Min­erva’s Ir­ish tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Paul Mun­ster have been plagued by a mis­fir­ing strike force and would be keen to cor­rect that ur­gently.

While Aizawl have scored thrice in their three games so far, one off a penalty and an­other of a set-piece, the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons sur­pris­ingly have not man­aged to get on the board.

For Aizawl, Liberian striker An­sumanah Kromah has been guilty of ex­treme profli­gacy and Lal­rem­sanga who had a good game in their opener against Shil­long and has not played since might be an op­tion for Raikhan.

The other pos­i­tive for him from the pre­vi­ous game against Ne­roca FC be­ing the first half per­for­mance of Kyr­gis­tani Bek­tur Tal­gat, where he was build­ing and lead­ing at­tacks with a lot of skill and pur­pose. The back four, led by Nige­rian Ka­reem Nu­rain and Gur­preet in goal, have been solid giv­ing the coach some sense of com­fort.

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