Monday, Oct 03, 2022

I-League: Debutant TRAU FC Host Former Champions Punjab FC

TRAU have had a tough awakening on their I-League debut, as they remain rooted to the bottom of the table after four fixtures

TRAU players during a training session. File Photo

Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) FC will look to put their bad start behind and start the new year afresh when they take on Punjab FC in an I-League match at the Khuman Lumpak Stadium, Imphal on Saturday. (More Football News)

TRAU have had a tough awakening on their I-League debut, as they remain rooted to the bottom of the table after four fixtures.

They registered their solitary point against Real Kashmir FC in their previous match, where the Tiddim Road outfit displayed great character to come back from a goal down to score twice in a space of four minutes, only to be denied all three points by a Mason Robertson equaliser.

They displayed the same resilience against Quess East Bengal, where they almost earned a point away from home at the Kalyani, but Marti Crespi scored an 89th-minute winner to spoil their party.

If those performances are anything to go by, TRAU FC do have some upsets in store in their arsenal and going by their recent resurgence, Punjab FC could be in for a tricky away outing in Imphal.

Captain of TRAU FC, Princewill Emeka spoke about the previous results and mind-set in the team saying, "It's a difficult situation for us and we all know that. We've set out lot of plans to overturn the situation but only victory can do that for us. We need nothing less than three points in our upcoming games to get things back in the right direction. We are prepared in every way possible especially mentally and having our game on Saturday at home is a great boost for us because we have wonderful supporters who will always push us to the limits. Hopefully we don't disappoint them but give them something to cheer and be proud of on Saturday."

Punjab FC, on the other hand, stared down the barrel of defeat away from home in their last match against Aizawl FC, but were awarded a penalty deep into stoppage time, which was converted by Sergio Barboza Jr. to save their blushes.

The Ludhiana outfit, however, still remain one of the contenders for the coveted I-League crown and sit in second place, with goal difference separating them from the summit.

Yan Law, head coach of Punjab FC, has already earned his reputation in the league with a sublime win against Chennai City FC and using Dipanda Dicka in a completely new role. He expressed his thoughts about the match saying, "The boys have been doing well so far and we are in good momentum now. Second in the table is very good considering the bad start to our campaign. We are scoring many goals and also conceding unnecessary ones. We are working on strengthening our team defending so that it does not cost us valuable points as we are surely title contenders.."

He also shed some light on the role he plans for I-League veteran Dipanda Dicka saying, "Dicka is a fantastic player and can score goals. I wouldn't call him a Super Sub. We just had a particular style of play in those particular games in which he came on as a Sub, and he did the job perfectly. Our game plan and style keeps changing to surprise our opponents, so Dicka will not always come on from the bench. We will be starting him surely when the plan demands."


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