Looking to finish as high on the table as possible with the title aspirations having long gone, Gokulam Kerala FC will take on the Indian Arrows at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kerala on February 16.
In the first leg fixture between the two sides, Arrows had overcome Kerala by a solitary goal, courtesy Amarjit Singh Kiyam.
The home team currently lies at the 10th position, having garnered 12 points from their 15 games so far and despite bringing in Gift Raikhan as their technical director. They have not been able to get back to winning streak.
Arrows, on the other hand, have creditably bounced back from early losses and find themselves in a respectable seventh position on the table with 16 points from 17 games. They also have five wins in the process, to go with 11 losses and a draw.
Kerala have gained two points in their last six games but only after four continuous defeats. In their previous game, they lost to Real Kashmir in chilling weather conditions amid a mix of rain and snowfall.
The only silver lining for Kerala in recent times has been Marcus Joseph, the top scorer of the Trinidadian pro-league, coming in to score twice for his new club in four games.
Precocious talents like Rajesh, Arjun Jayaraj, VP Suhair, Gani Nigam and Baoringdao Bodo should also help immensely in getting them a positive final result on Saturday.
Raikhan had a clear objective in mind, saying at the pre-game presser, “We will be playing a home match tomorrow. It is a vital match for us as we need three points. We have prepared ourselves for tomorrow’s match and the boys are ready with full motivation.”
"Tactically, physically and mentally, we are ready for tomorrow’s match. We have five matches remaining in our hand one is away and four at home. We will collect as many points as we can and try to be in the top six so that we can go directly to the Super Cup," he said.
On the other hand, the Arrows` performances have steadily improved and have resulted in growing confidence levels. Although they lost 0-2 against Chennai City in their previous game, they made the league leaders sweat for the entire 90 minutes. It was left to Sandro’s moment of brilliance to turn the game.
Speaking at the press conference, coach Floyd Pinto expressed confidence, saying, “Expecting a similar kind of match and hoping to get the same result as last year. We are going to work really hard. We aim to finish as high as we can in the table.”
“If we can get any points from tomorrow’s match it will help us. We are in the 7th position, but we have played more matches. We have three matches left and we will try to give our best. The boys have kept improving and they are more comfortable this season. Most of our games have been fine margins,” he said.
With both teams eager to improve their positions in the league, Gokulam Kerala FC and Indian Arrows will lock horns at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kerala on February 16.