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Gokulam eye first win in Imphal

Posted October 31st, 2018, 10:10 AM IST

Gokulam eye first win in Imphal

Gokulam Kerala FC can take heart from their second-half performance on the weekend against Mohun Bagan as they prepare to take on Neroca FC at the Khuman Lampak Main Stadium in Imphal on Wednesday.

The gritty 1-1 draw in Kozhikode after trailing for more than a quarter of the game has given Bino George’s boys the confidence to try and upset an opposition that conquered them both home and away last I-League season.





Pritam Singh, who was instrumental in Gokulam’s spirited comeback against Bagan, will be returning to his former club for whom he scored a brilliant goal when the sides met last season.

Neroca had won 1-0 in the corresponding fixture while they had also posted a thumping 3-0 win at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode, last season.

Antonio German is doubtful with an injury while substitute Rajesh S. who forced the own-goal equaliser and almost got a winner on Saturday, is likely to start.

“This is our first away match and I think it will be difficult to play here,” said Bino George, head coach of Gokulam Kerala.

“The crowd here comes in numbers and they act like a 12th player for them. It is a huge challenge to play here but I think my boys are confident. We had a tough game against Mohun Bagan in the opening match and we have realised our mistakes.

“We have good players and they will give 100 percent for the team tomorrow. Last year we lost both the matches against Neroca and they finished I-Leauge runners-up. A match against them will prove our strengths,” Bino added.

Gokulam vice-captain Muhammed Rashid has hailed their opponents’ style and feels motivated by their defeats to the Manipuri side last season.

“Neroca play wonderful football. And we have not won against them. This is a motivation for us to defeat them. We want to continue our good form and an away win will help us to prepare further for the season,” said Rashid.

Even though Neroca’s season had kicked off with a 2-0 defeat to East Bengal, their head coach Manuel Retamero Fraile believes they did better and wants to capitalise on opportunities.

“Last match we played better than East Bengal. But we were not able to make use of our opportunities. I think we should capitalize on their mistake. We should not allow them to play with more ball,” said Manuel Retamero Fraile.

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