I-League is set to start on Saturday with three fixtures on an opening day. One of the matches is a South Indian derby between Gokulam Kerala FC and Chennai City FC. The match will start at 7 pm at the Kalyani Stadium.
Both the teams have high hopes for the season. Chennai have won the title in 2019 but finished seventh last season. They drew four in their last five games and lost five times in total. However, they won five games and finished above clubs like Churchill Brothers, Aizawl FC. In the upcoming season, the hope to claim the title once more.
On the other hand, Gokulam won the Durand Cup in 2019 after defeating Mohun Bagan in the final. They were a solid team with a lot of potential. They finished sixth last season but played the least number of games. As the season was stopped early due to the ongoing pandemic, they played only 15 games.
They could have gone to the second spot with a victory in their next scheduled game, which never happened. However, they did not perform as the fans expected. They lost to Neroca FC who were fighting for relegation before the season ended.
Preview of Gokulam Kerala FC vs Chennai City FC
Gokulam’s head coach Vincenzo Annese said that the match against Chennai will be interesting and they must start on a high to finish at the top.
“The match tomorrow (Saturday) is very interesting for us as it will be the first match for me in Hero I-League and for all our new signings. With that, we must start the right way if we are to compete for the first position. We will take it one match at a time.”Vincenzo Annese
Chennai City’s head coach Satyasagara admitted that Gokulam are a good side and both teams played great matches before. So we can expect that it will be a cracking derby. He also added that Chennai worked on their defence after conceding 21 goals in 16 games.
“Gokulam are a good team and traditionally Chennai City FC and Gokulam FC have played a lot of high-intensity matches. It is going to be a very interesting match. A positive result will give us a lot of boost in morale.”
“We have tightened up on our defence. Last season we scored a lot of goals but we conceded a lot of goals as well so defence is something which we have worked on rigorously,”Satyasagara
Players from both sides also shared their thoughts on the game. Gokulam’s striker Dennis Antwi stated that he is eager to play in the I-League. The forward has played in several countries like Malaysia, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
Chennai midfielder and captain Charles Anandraj said that he understands the weight of the match. Gokulam are their arch-rivals and they will give their all to win the game to start their season.
Gokulam Kerala FC vs Chennai City FC Team News:
As the coaches have not dropped any hint on how the teams will show up on Saturday, prediction on the first eleven cannot be done.
Gokulam Kerala FC 2-1 Chennai City FC
Considering the teams and their history, a victory for Gokulam is likely. However, the 2019 I-League champions Chennai City FC will put up a strong fight against their arch-rivals.
In the end, we can conclude that Saturday’s match will be a thrilling game of football between the two South Indian clubs.