Aizawl FC have only three home games left this season as they host NEROCA FC at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium in Aizawl, Mizoram, on Saturday afternoon.
|Game||Aizawl FC v NEROCA FC|
|Date||Saturday, January 20|
|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. All the matches will be telecast live on Star Sports 2 and 2 HD.
|India TV channels||Online streams|
|Star Sports 2/2HD||Hotstar/JioTV|
AIZAWL FC POSSIBLE XI (4-2-3-1): Avilash Paul (GK); R. Laldinliana, Lalramhmunmawia, Kareem Omolaja, C Lalrosanga; Hmingthan Mawia, Alfred Jaryan; Albert Zohmingmawia, Andrei Ionescu, Leonce Dodoz; William Lalnunfela.
Suspended: Masih Saighani
Key Players: Andrei Ionescu, Alfred Jaryan
Afghan defender Masih Saighani, who has also been impressive in the attack having started in all eight of Aizawl's games so far this season, will miss the tie on account of picking his fifth yellow card in the goalless draw against East Bengal on Tuesday.
NEROCA POSSIBLE XI (4-4-2): Lalit Thapa (GK); Ngasepam Tondonba, Varney Kallon, Gouramangi Singh, Ashok Singh; Israilov Akhlidin, Fabien Vorbe, Aryn Glen Williams, Yumnam Gopi Singh; Singam Subash Singh, Felix Odili Chidi.
Key Players: Subhash Singh, Aryn Williams
Back from injury, Lalit Thapa will reclaim his place in between the sticks from Loitongbam Bishorjit Singh who replaced the visitors' goalkeeper in the 2-0 win over Indian Arrows in Goa earlier this week.
Aizawl are in between a run of four straight home games from which they beat Chennai City 2-0 and played a goalless draw against East Bengal. After their next clash against Mohun Bagan, starting with a AFC Champions League play-off against Iranian side Zob Ahan Isfahan FC in Iran, they will be on the road for the entire month of February bearing one match at home.
Currently fifth with 14 points from eight games, they will hence need to consolidate their place in the top four given the difficult run later in the season and make the best of the couple of games in hand.
Romanian midfielder Andrei Ionescu will remain the main threat for the hosts. Goalkeeper Avilash Paul has also been in sublime form of late. Kareem Nurain will have to step up his game with the absence of Masih Saighani while Alfred Jaryan plays a crucial role in the midfield
NEROCA have been steadily registering points on the board ever since they sustained a defeat in their opening fixture. The Manipuri outfit have ever since won a game in every alternate week or at least picked a point.
The Indian contingent of the squad has performed as good as the foreigners this season, especially the likes of Subhash Singh, who is the club's joint top scorer with Felix Chidi Odli with three goals along with an assist each. Varney Kallon and Gouramangi Singh have developed a formidable partnership in the central defense.
As Gift Raikhan's troops are currently third with 18 points, they have the opportunity to leapfrog East Bengal (19) to go within a point from table toppers Minerva Punjab. But will Paulo Menezes' Aizawl FC better their place in the top half standings?