Aizawl, Nov 17 (SocialNews.XYZ) Aizawl FC will lock horns with defending champions Gokulam Kerala FC at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium to kick off the second round of fixtures in the I-League 2022-23 season, here on Friday.
The hosts will head into the match on the back of a 1-1 draw against TRAU FC in their opening fixture, where Argentine midfielder Mat?as Ver?n was sent off and will be suspended for this game.
Gokulam won their opening match 1-0 against Mohammedan SC earlier this week. In their previous meeting last season, it was the Malabarians that took the three points after a 2-1 win.
Aizawl FC head coach Standly Rozario hailed his side's fighting spirit against TRAU.
"We have a lot of positives to take from the last match. The boys showed great character and a never-say-die attitude. We created chances till the end despite playing with 10 men. We hope to continue in the same vein in the next match and fight till the end for the three points. I have confidence in the players and also in our fans, who will again have a key role in pushing us forward," Rozario said.
Captain and defender Lalchhawnkima said, "Against TRAU, the flow of the game was not as we expected in the first half, even though we created lots of chances. However, our main target was to keep the ball and dominate the game, which we always did. We are a young, energetic team and looking forward to an exciting match against Gokulam Kerala."
Gokulam Kerala FC head coach Richard Towa expressed his team's determination to claim victory.
"We had a successful start in the opening game and want to improve with every match. We are well-prepared and are here because we want to win. It will not be an easy game tomorrow, especially since Aizawl will have the home advantage and the support of their fans. However, I know that our boys can do it and we are ready," said Towa.
Winger Thahir Zaman mentioned that his team has grown accustomed to the pressure that comes with being the defending champions.
"Being two-time consecutive champions, pressure is normal. We are used to it now and accepted the same challenge last year as well. Now, we are concentrating on the matches ahead and looking forward to a great match tomorrow. The mood in the team is fantastic. Tomorrow, the hosts will have the home advantage but we will do our best to get the three points," he said.