The final matchday of the I-League takes us to a blockbuster of an evening at the Salt Lake stadium. Both Mohammedan SC and Gokulam Kerala have had an excellent season so far and the stage can’t get better than this. The last time they faced each other was on 25th March, with the match ending in a 1-1 draw.
The Malabarians are the defending champions of the current I-League season. They had a golden chance to win the title in their last game, but an unfortunate defeat delayed the proceedings. “We lost our focus in the last match. We tried to come back stronger in the second half but it wasn’t possible,” said head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese. Now, they face Mohammedan SC in a virtual final.
Gokulam Kerala sits on top of the table but a defeat after a 21 game unbeaten run will surely do some damage to their confidence. However, the Italian talisman won’t change their approach to the game. “We’ve scored 42 goals so far. We play an attacking style and always go for the win” spoke Annese. “If we play to defend, with so many Mohammedan fans against us, we’ll only invite pressure. We need to play for the win to kill their hopes,” he added.
We need to play for the win to kill their hopesGKFC Head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese ahead of the game
The stakes for Mohammedan are even higher. They haven’t come so close to winning a premier national level top tier league in their history, and the pressure on them will be immense. Although Gokulam were much ahead, their head coach was always optimistic and believed in his men. “I told my players that this is football. Anybody can win or lose in a minute. We kept playing well and had good results. Now we have the chance to win the title and our fans in the city are excited about it,” spoke Andrey Chernyshov.
In an exclusive interview with Football Monk, Mohammedan striker Marcus Joseph too asserted that the team is relaxed ahead of the mega clash. “This game is very important for the team and all of Mohammedan Sporting. But I think we all just need to relax“ said the striker. “If we are too excited, we might commit some silly mistakes. Hence, we take this game like any other match,” Marcus justified.
The biggest factor in support of Mohammedan will be their fans. Mohammedan coach Chernyshov is hoping to make the most of the Black and White Brigade supporters. “Of course, it will be an advantage for us to have a big crowd behind us tomorrow. It’s not an easy situation for Gokulam,” said Chernyshov. “We’ve been waiting for this match since July last year. It’s going to be a big game and I hope the fans will enjoy good football tomorrow,” concluded the Russian.
Gokulam captain Sharif Mohammad picked up a red card in the last match against Shreenidhi and hence will miss today’s match. Youngster Jithin MS will miss today’s game as well due to a yellow card suspension.
On the other hand, everyone from Mohammedan Sporting is available for selection.
Gokulam Kerala: R Dagar, M Uvais, A Saji, Aminou B, M Jassim, E Benny, Rishad PP, Sreekuttan, J Fletcher, L Majcen, T Zaman.
Mohammedan SC: Zothanmawia, M Mohammed, S Shaheen, W Vaz, S Rahaman, A Rudović, S Stojanović, A Akhtar, Vanlalremdika, M Joseph, Sk Faiaz.
Venue and Telecast
The match will be played at the majestic Vivekananda Yubabharati Krirangan aka the Salt Lake stadium. The event will kick off at 7.00 pm and will be live telecasted on the Indian Football team’s Facebook page.
Did you know?
- If Gokulam Kerala wins or draws today, they will be crowned I-League champions. By doing so, they will become the first team in I-League history to successfully defend the title.
- If Mohammedan wins today, they will be tied on points and the goal difference in head to head matches will be counted, thus crowning the Black and Whites the champions. However, Gokulam Kerala holds a superior goal difference in the league.
- Mohammedan’s Marcus Joseph was a part of the Gokulam Kerala side that won their first-ever national level trophy in 2019. Now he faces his old team in a virtual final.