NEROCA face do-or-die battle against Sudeva Delhi FC

KALYANI: NEROCA’s slump in form has probably come at the worst of times as the Manipur-based club finds itself in the relegation spot with just a couple of matches left to go in the Hero I-League season. The Gift Raikhan-coached team will face Sudeva Delhi FC in a do-or-die battle for survival at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium in Kalyani, West Bengal tomorrow (March 16, 2021). The match will kick-off at 7:00 PM IST and the match will be broadcast on 1Sports, whilst being streamed on their Facebook page.

Defeats to the Indian Arrows and Aizawl FC in their last two matches have heaped more pressure on NEROCA, who need to win their next two games and hope results go their way if they are to stay in the Hero I-League. The last time these two sides met, NEROCA defeated Sudeva Delhi FC 2-0 and Gift Raikhan’s side would be aiming to take inspiration from that win and aspire for maximum points.

Speaking at the official press conference head coach Gift Raikhan said, “The match will be very, very important tomorrow against Sudeva Delhi FC because if we collect 3 points from them, we have chances to play against Chennai in the last match and survive relegation. The boys know the importance of this fixture.”

“We have lost matches against the likes of Churchill, Kashmir, RoundGlass, Indian Arrows, and Aizawl that were very closely contested. We could have won those matches and we would not have been in this situation. But, what has happened has happened. We learn from our mistakes and are looking to come out of the relegation. We hope to win tomorrow and claim the 3 important points.”

“We have to go all out tomorrow and get the three points.  We need to give our 100% and we cannot make any mistakes in the defence. We have confidence from the 2-0 win against Sudeva Delhi FC. We know about their strengths and weaknesses. I hope we will be successful tomorrow,” he added.

Goalkeeper Bishrojit Singh said, “Sudeva is a very good team with a good attack and midfield so we need to mark them. We will try to use man-to-man marking to take care of their offence. We have had big miscommunications in the previous matches and we have conceded silly goals. Tomorrow’s match, we don’t want a similar situation and we have prepared for it.”

Sudeva Delhi, who are immune to relegation, come into the clash after having rested in the last matchday. Their last match was a 2-1 win against Chennai City and that win has helped them sit comfortably with 12 points from 11 matches – four points ahead of NEROCA.

Speaking at the virtual pre-match press conference, assistant coach Pushpender Kundu said, “In our last match against NEROCA, it wasn’t our day and they got lucky. We have learned lots of lessons from our previous encounter and we will go for the win.”

“Long breaks tend to break the momentum of the team but this time around we are focused and determined. We have worked on our positioning and finishing. Boys are motivated for tomorrow’s match and we will surely get the three points.”

“NEROCA is a very good team. Currently, their position on the table is not great, they are in the relegation zone and will come all out tomorrow and we have prepared our boys for that. I hope our boys take revenge for the previous loss against NEROCA,” added the assistant coach.

Captain Shubho Paul, who was present at the press conference said, ”Firstly, I would like to thank the coaches and management who have shown faith in me and made me the captain of the team. It was a great feeling to win as a captain.”

“We are well prepared for tomorrow’s match. We have given our 100% to prepare for tomorrow’s match in the practice sessions. We also want to win the remaining matches and we are preparing for it.”


For Trial related updates: Latest trials updates in Mumbai Football

Also Read: From wearing oversized boots to Hero ISL glory: Bipin Singh braces for maiden Blue Tigers test

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