Sun, 02 Apr 2023

New Delhi [India], February 4 (ANI): Five days back, the result of this upcoming fixture could have looked like a foregone conclusion. Not many would have been ready to give Sudeva Delhi FC much of a chance against title favourites RoundGlass Punjab FC in their I-League match.

But a lot can happen over five days in a competitive meet like the I-League, and this time a lot has happened. On Wednesday, toppers RoundGlass Punjab fell behind twice and scraped through with a point against Mumbai Kenkre, who are second from bottom on the points table.

Before the excitement of that six-goal thriller could subside, bottom-placed Sudeva Delhi defeated Rajasthan United 3-2 in another nail-biting finish here at Ambedkar Stadium. It was their maiden victory of the season. Therefore, Sunday's tie at Chhatrasal Stadium between Sankarlal Chakraborty's Sudeva and Staikos Vergetis's RoundGlass Punjab, is now a match between a resurgent side and a team recovering from a shocking draw.

Vergetis is aware of the dangers such a match poses. "I expect a tough match tomorrow because I do not look at the table to judge a team," he said on the eve of the match as quoted by an I-League release. "And we can all see how difficult it is for a team in this league to win successive matches," added the coach.

"The last match taught us that we should start a game with more alertness and concentration," he continued.

Sudeva coach Chakraborty is keeping his feet on the ground. He said "My job is to keep the emotions low after the win in the last match. Because we need to win many more matches to survive.""Tomorrow will be a new day. The only thing to treasure from the last match is the confidence we gained," Chakraborty said in a matter-of-fact way.

Even though most teams have already played each other at least once, these two teams will be meeting for the first time this season. Therefore, Sudeva's new foreigners - Argentine Alexis Gomez and Tajik Shavkati Khotam - will be surprising elements for RoundGlass. While Sudeva has been improving slowly ever since Chakraborty took over, they lacked attacking prowess, which in turn put their defence under immense pressure. That has changed after the signing of these two. They have brought in the kind of individual brilliance Luka Majcen provides RoundGlass Punjab with or David Castaneda provides Sreenidi Deccan with.

So the RoundGlass defence can no longer breathe easy because they are playing the bottom-placed team on the morrow. The likes of Aleksandar Ignjatovic, Suresh Meitei, Huidrom Naocha Singh will have their task cut out.

Sudeva defenders will have to be at their best, too. The way Sukhandeep Singh allowed two goals from his side in the first half against Rajasthan United cannot be repeated. RoundGlass are a much superior side than Rajasthan and even one such mistake could see them run away with the match. Wresting midfield control from Brandon Vanlalremdika, Khaiminthang Lhungdim et al will also be crucial. Unless Akeem Abioye, Selienthang Lotjem, and Lalbiakliana do that, the new foreigners will be starved for balls.

The match will be telecast live on Eurosport, DD Sports and Discovery Plus OTT platform from 2 PM IST. (ANI)

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