Kozhikode, Jan 8 (PTI) Winless in their last two matches, Gokulam Kerala would fancy their chances when they host a struggling defending champions Chennai City FC in an I-League clash here on Thursday.
After beginning the season with two consecutive wins, Gokulam Kerala suffered a 1-2 defeat (against Mohun Bagan) and a 1-1 draw (against Aizawl FC) in the next two games to be at fifth spot in the standings with seven points.
Gokulam Kerala would be disappointed that they could not make the most of one-man advantage against Aizawl FC in their last match at home. It will be interesting to see how Gokulam fare against the Coimbatore-based reigning champions who have been struggling for form.
Reflecting on his side's previous match, Gokulam head coach Fernando Varela said, "Aizawl did a great defensive job, we tried anyway but their goalkeeper stood out throughout the game. These are things that happen in football and you have to accept them.
"The important thing that we always maintained our competitive and offensive spirit trying to win with good football."
Talking about Chennai City, he said, "Chennai are the league champions. When you get a championship you deserve respect, we never look at the names of the players but the ability to generate good tactical quality and Chennai City surely have it."
Chennai City, on the other hand, have not had much to boast of this season. Stricken with injuries and being marred by the loss of their marquee striker Pedro Manzi, the defending champions are faced with an uphill task.
Chennai have come into Thursday's match after a demoralising 1-2 defeat to Real Kashmir in Srinagar, the second loss of the season -- the first one against Punjab FC. They have won just one match this season and are at seventh spot with five points.
They conceded two first-half goals against Real Kashmir but came out with a much-improved display in the second session.
Commenting on the loss of Manzi, Chennai City head coach Akbar Nawas said, "Our Management is looking into it and we will make a decision in time to come if a replacement is needed."
Speaking about Thursday's match, he said, "They are really a good team and I am sure they seem to be one of the favourites this season. It will be a tough and competitive game for us."
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