Imphal (Manipur) [India], February 4 (ANI): NEROCA FC returns to the Khuman Lampak Stadium to host I-League defending champions Gokulam Kerala FC in Imphal on Sunday.
The kick-off is slated for 4:30 PM IST.
Against NEROCA, it will be coach Francesc Bonet's first game away from home. The Gokulam Kerala manager has previously faced the Imphal outfit twice and holds an unbeaten record against them. During his stint with Rajasthan United, Bonet managed a 1-1 draw in the league stage, while handing NEROCA a 2-0 defeat in the championship stage. The Spanish manager will look forward to maintaining his record, but this time he will face the Orange Brigade at their home, where they have been a difficult side to beat recently.
Given their form at the Khuman Lampak Stadium which includes two straight wins against Aizawl (2-1) and TRAU (3-1), Bonet will have a strenuous task on his hands.
Gokulam Kerala are an in-form side at the moment, having won back-to-back home games against Mumbai Kenkre (1-0) and Real Kashmir (2-0). However, on the road, the defending champions have won just once this season, a 1-0 success at Aizawl back in November.
Their opponents, NEROCA, were three goals down in the 75th minute of their previous game against Sreenidi Deccan. Forwards Michael Kporvi and Jourdain Fletcher did score two goals to try and get something out of the game, but the late surge was not enough for them as Sreenidi Deccan walked off with three points. The Orange Brigade will now look to bounce back from that narrow defeat, and will bank on home support to get a positive result against the Malabarians.
A win will keep Gokulam Kerala's title aspirations alive as it will take them to 27 points, just four less than current leaders Sreenidi Deccan. NEROCA, on the other hand, are only above the relegation zone on goal difference. Victory for them will take them three points above Mumbai Kenkre, giving them some much-needed breathing room in the title relegation battle.
The match between NEROCA FC and Gokulam Kerala FC will be broadcast live on Eurosport and Doordarshan Sports and streamed live on the Discovery Plus OTT platform at 4:30 PM IST. (ANI)