Hero I-League: Table toppers Chennai City F.C. aim to extend points gap against Gokulam Kerala F.C.

Coimbatore, January 03, 2018: League leaders Chennai City F.C. would aim to increase the gap at the top of the Hero I-League points table when they take on Gokulam Kerala F.C. at Coimbatore’s Nehru stadium on Friday. The game kicks off at 5 pm (IST) and would follow the Neroca-Shillong game in the same day.

Kerala have lost three of their last four games which also includes a shock loss away to Indian Arrows. Their coach Bino George would be wary of the fact that they last won a game in the previous year (in the third week of November). In contrast, Chennai — the most accomplished side in the current tournament — deservedly hold the top spot.

Their rampant run seemed to have ended when they dropped four points in two games. But they quickly got back on track with a 6-1 victory against Shillong in their previous game.  That would surely be a confidence booster for Friday’s game.

Also, Gokulam can take positives from their spirited 2-3 loss to Chennai in a previous fixture. Chennai gaffer Akbar Nawas will look no further than his band of brilliant Spaniards who have scored 18 of their 22 goals scored so far. Pedro Manzi is the leader in the scoring charts with seven goals (which includes two hat-tricks) while Nestor Jesus has scored six so far.

“I think Gokulam is a strong team. Whenever they play anywhere, they will go all out to make sure that the game is competitive. Whatever happened in the last game, it is very difficult to reference it, because they might change their tactics, their strategies might change players. We have to be aware of what comes,” said Nawas said at the pre-game press conference.

Along with Neroca and Shillong both teams play their 11th game (of the season). It also begins their second and final league round. George knows his team is one good win away from getting their title aspirations back on track. He may take heart from the brilliant comeback they mounted against Aizawl in their last game.

Despite showering praise on their opponents, George seemed in no mood to give an inch in the pre-game media chat: “There are some game planners in their team, like Nestor and Sandro, who are creating goals for the strikers but our team are playing good. Even last time we played each other, we were both balanced teams.”

He can take heart that new recruit Joel Sunday opened his account with a brace in the same game. Chennai would want to guard against any kind of complacency and will go all out to garner three points at home. Of course they know that things would only get tougher as the business end of the tournament draws nearer.

Do expect a cracker of a game under lights!

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