Kozhikode, Jan 25 (IANS) Gokulam Kerala FC will be playing host to Churchill Brothers FC at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode on Sunday.
Both sides will be coming into this fixture on the back of defeats. The hosts suffered a staggering 1-3 defeat to Punjab FC in Ludhiana while Churchill Brothers were handed a major upset at home as TRAU emerged 2-1 winners at the Fatorda.
Another defeat for either side could serve as a catalyst which could ignite a downward spiral, as two defeats on the trot, has the potential to severely dent any title aspirations, especially when the league leaders show no signs of slowing down.
Gokulam have struggled for consistency, looking like the team to beat like they did against Quess East Bengal but have struggled to follow up such performances, looking like a completely different team as they did against Punjab.
Gokulam Kerala FC head coach Fernando Andres Santiago Varela said, "Sometimes, football is not about mistakes but about the successes of the rival. Punjab FC had the advantage as they are habituated to playing on such a field which we couldn't get accustomed to. Maybe we lack the experience to play that kind of game, but there is nothing to reproach the players, they always give it their all.
"Churchill Brothers is a very intense, tall and defensively organized team. They are very dangerous in the set pieces. Our idea will be to impose the rhythm of the game and as always show good football."
Meanwhile, Gokulam Kerala have already announced to donate the proceeds of the ticket sales to the family of the late Radhakrishnan Dhanarajan. Legendary footballer IM Vijayan and India captain Sunil Chhetri have already bought 250 and 220 tickets respectively to help the cause.
Churchill, on the other hand, have had better fortune away from home and is the only side to have defeated Mohun Bagan this season but their run at home hasn't been as convincing.
Bernardo Tavares, Head Coach, Churchill Brothers FC Goa said, "In my opinion, Gokulam Kerala is one of the teams that has the best players of the league. They won easily with a scoreline of 3-1 against Quess East Bengal, they played very well against Punjab and also played well the other games that I saw."
He added, "Marcus Joseph is a very good player and he, alone can decide the game. They have other good foreigners, but also good Indian players who can make the difference. It's going to be a very difficult game for our team because they are very strong and at this moment we have many important players injured. We must work very hard with perfect teamwork in order to make a good game of this encounter."
The match is scheduled for an evening kick-off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast LIVE on 1Sports, with online streaming available at FanCode.