Minerva Punjab are set to go head-to-head with Aizawl FC in the I-League 2018-19 at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Gurgaon, on Friday.
|Game||Minerva Punjab v Aizawl FC|
|Date||Friday, February 1|
|Time||2:00 PM IST (GMT +5:30)|
TV CHANNELS & LIVE STREAM
The Star Sports Network have the exclusive broadcasting rights of the I-League but will not telecast this fixture. The game will be telecast on digital platforms.
|India (English) TV channel||Online streams|
|NIL||Hotstar and Jio TV|
Key Players: Jorge Caicedo, Lancine Toure
Key Players: Kareem Nurain, Lalkhawpuimawia
Suspended: Hmingthan Mawia
Minerva Punjab, now with 14 points from as many games, have dropped crucial points against the likes of Shillong Lajong (1-0 defeat) and Gokulam Kerala (1-1) in their last two games.
What has been hurting them most this season is their profligacy in front of goal as they have scored even lesser (7) than Indian Arrows (9).
Paul Munster is missing an out and out striker like the team had in the previous seasons and the English coach has even resorted to trying center back Lancine Toure in attack. Incidentally, it was Toure's double that had helped Minerva to a 2-1 win over Aizawl in the reverse fixture.
For Friday's clash, however, Ivory Coast forward Kouame Zacharie returns from suspension for the hosts while Prabhjot Singh and Akash Sangwan have constantly proved menacing on the flanks. This would imply that Toure will partner Jorge Caicedo at the back.
New Aizawl coach Stanley Rozario is still searching for his first win with Aizawl after playing out two draws and a defeat so far. Aizawl (11) now have the opportunity to at least go above Gokulam Kerala (12) and possibly Indian Arrows (13).
Without much reliance on the team's foreigners, players like Albert Zohmingmawia, Lalkhawpuimawia, Rochharzela and Isak Vanruatfela among others have impressed the new coach so far. Meanwhile, Ansumana Kromah's return from injury, as he came on as a substitute in the last match, is also a positive sign.
Senior players like David Lalrinmuana, who has hardly contributed much other than the equaliser against Mohun Bagan three months ago, Alfred Jaryan and Leonce Dodoz also need to step up to the occasion in order to better their team's standing on the table.
Will Minerva Punjab stabilise their position in the mid table or can Aizawl FC pull themselves up from the bottom?