Aizawl FC will look to make a strong comeback when they play their third home match of the I-League against high flying Minerva Punjab FC at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on Wednesday.
Reigning champions Aizawl FC had the last laugh last season in this tie, courtesy the own goal by Loveday Enyinnaya.
Minerva Punjab FC are coming to the tie from an unbeaten home run which has earned them 13 points from five matches.
Aizawl FC, on the other hand, kicked off their campaign with a 1-0 win over Churchill Brothers but they slumped to a defeat at the hands of Shillong Lajong in their second game.
Minerva Punjab FC coach Khogen Singh is well aware of their position in the league and he stressed on keeping the focus on the match but nothing else.
He opined, “We will try to continue this form until the end of the season. But our fixtures will be tougher as playing in away matches and I have experienced this as a player myself. Aizawl will be a tough opponent but i hope we can end the season in our current position.”
Minerva Punjab FC’s transition from relegation battlers to fighting for the championship is much help by the addition of forwarding Chencho Gyeltshen. The Bhutanese forward feels confident as he hopes to finish his first season in India with flying colours.
Chencho made the difference in their last match having scored the solitary goal of the match against Indian Arrows.
He stated, “It is my first season in India and it is quite different to Bhutan. I want to score as many goals possible and be the best player in the league. Lifting the Hero I-League with Minerva is my main aim and I hope we can achieve that as a team.”
Chencho is one of the best players in the league so far but Aizawl’s Portuguese coach Paulo Menezes said they will not man mark the forward.
“Man-marking is not my philosophy and we will not mark Chencho tomorrow as well. We will play as a team and I hope we can collect 3 points,” Menezes said.
Champions Aizawl FC were the battered side in their last tie at their fortress when they went down to their Northeastern rivals Shillong Lajong FC, thanks to the sole strike by Redeem Tlang.
Aizawl FC captain Alfred Jaryan feels that they are a different team as compared to last season title winning side.
“As compared to the last season, we are a completely peculiar side. The coach is different and our styles and tactics are also different. But there are still a lot of matches to be played and I hope we can finish the season in a good fashion,” he opined.