GANGTOK: Minerva Academy FC are slated to face Gangtok Himalayan SC in their third match of the Second Division League at the Paljor Stadium at 2:00 PM today.
The Pride of Punjab are on a two-match unbeaten run, having played out a goalless draw against Neroca FC in their first match and beating Mohammedan Sporting Club in the second. They are on 4 points and will desperately seek another 3 points on Thursday to stay at par with Neroca FC, who are on 7 points after beating Lonestar Kashmir FC on Wednesday.
The home side on the other hand would not like to settle for anything less than a win, having amassed just 1 point from two matches. They suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Dempo SC in their first match while held Lonestar Kashmir FC 1-1 in their second.
Hence, before going on road from the fourth round, Gangtok Himalayan SC will at least look to have one win at home to stay close to the leaders in the standing.
Minerva on the other hand will look to top the table for which they need three points and win at least with a three-goal difference to topple Neroca FC from the top.
“That’s a big task but not impossible,” says club Director Ranjit Bajaj after taking a motivational session with the players in the team hotel in Gangtok after outdoor training was cut short due to a hail storm.
“Players are both physically and mentally fit, despite being in a high altitude. That’s a good sign for us. We have had two hard core training sessions and everyone is ready for the match,” he added.
Coach Surinder Singh joined the discussion, and spoke in the same vein, saying “The match is going to be tough. GHSC is a good team and we have to respect the fact that they are playing at home.”
Gangtok FC are a tough nut to crack, a testimony is their second place finish in the zonal round and the fact that Dempo SC could beat them only with 1-0 scoreline with so many experienced players in their squad.
Minerva Academy FC, coincidentally, has a player from Sikkim, Dilliram Sanyasi, who is excited to play in front of his home crowd and is expected to play crucial role in the match.
“Yes, it feels good to be playing at home. My friends and family will be there to cheer and support me and Minerva. I am hoping we go back to Chandigarh with three points,” the diminutive winger said.
– Minerva Academy FC Media