After a solid win against I-League holders Gokulam Kerala, NEROCA FC host fellow relegation-battlers Mumbai Kenkre FC at the Khuman Lampak Stadium on Wednesday.
As the league enters its closing stages, the battle for survival is heating up. Mumbai Kenkre might be occupying the relegation spots, but have won against leaders Sreenidi Deccan and drawn with second-placed RoundGlass Punjab over the past couple of weeks. 10th-placed NEROCA are just three points above the Mumbaikars but are one of the most in-form sides in the league, with 10 points in their last five games.
At home, the Orange Brigade have won their last three in a row and will be looking to keep that run going on Wednesday.
Addressing the media at the pre-match press conference, NEROCA head coach Wangkhem Khogen Singh said, “Tomorrow, it’s another home game for us, and an important one in a neck-and-neck relegation battle. If we win tomorrow, we will be in a different scenario. We are preparing well and plan to win the game.”
NEROCA beat Mumbai Kenkre 1-0 in the reverse fixture at the Cooperage back in November thanks to main striker Jourdain Fletcher’s solitary strike. But Khogen believes the current Kenkre side is a better one in terms of form because of the new additions they’ve made to their squad. However, given NEROCA’s confidence following the win against Gokulam and the backing of fans at home, the Indian coach feels his side will get a positive result.
Mumbai Kenkre assistant coach Managesh Desai talked highly about their opponents but also maintained confidence in his men. “NEROCA have done really well in their last three games, especially against Gokulam. We are prepared and have come here with a plan. In our last two home games, we got two good results and hopefully, we can replicate our home form on the road,” Desai said.
“At this stage of the season, it’s important to win all our matches till the last round. We hope to do exactly that, starting from tomorrow,” he added.