22 Feb 2019
I-League 2018-19: Minerva Punjab vs NEROCA: Preview and prediction
Written bySayak Basu
While Minerva are ninth on the league table with 14 points from 16 matches, NEROCA are fifth with 26 points from 17 matches.
Can Minerva manage to overcome as strong a challenger such as NEROCA?
Here is our detailed match preview.
How are Minerva Punjab looking ahead of the encounter?
The defending champions Minerva have been quite dismal in their performances this season.
They have won just three matches this entire season out of the 16 they have played till date, and their last meeting with NEROCA had been a goalless draw.
In their last match, Minerva had refused to play against Real Kashmir at Srinagar, citing security concerns. The match has been postponed.
Are NEROCA FC ready for the challenge?
In their last five matches, NEROCA have won just one, drawing and losing two each.
Their sudden lack of form, especially in defense, will be somewhat of a concern for their manager Manuel Retamero Fraile.
However, they can get somewhat of a relief, considering the fact that Minerva have managed to score just eight goals this entire season.
Who will be the key players in the fixture tomorrow?
Katsumi Yusa, Subhash Singh and Felix Chidi will be the key players in attack for NEROCA and Varney Kallon will be their main man in defense.
Chencho Gyeltshen has been another valuable addition to their squad.
Minerva will be looking at Kuboki and Sangwan up front for inspiration in the match tomorrow.
None of their players have been outstanding this season.
Predicted lineup and TV listing
Minerva: Roy, Devrani, Caicedo, Toure, Arashpreet Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Thoiba Singh, Khan, Amandeep Singh, Sangwan, Kuboki.
NEROCA: Thapa, Ashok Singh, Kallon, Ferreira, Thangmuansang, Williams, Saran Singh, Meitei, Yusa, Subhash Singh, Chidi.
The match is scheduled to kick-off from 2:00 PM and will be telecast on the Star Sports network.
It can also be live-streamed on Hotstar or Jio TV.
How can the match turn out tomorrow?
Looking at how the season has turned out, Minerva hardly have a chance tomorrow.
Moreover, the visitors will be running high on confidence after staging a dramatic comeback against Chennai in their last match, coming from 0-3 down to draw the match.
Minerva need to put on their best performance if they want to get a positive result.
We predict 2-0 to NEROCA.
What should be the ideal Fantasy XI for the match?
Choose Devrani as the goalkeeper keeping a 4-3-3 formation in mind.
Arashpreet Singh and Kallon can be the central defenders in the match as Caicedo and Ferreira take up the left and right back roles respectively.
Khan, Meitei, and Yusa can play in the midfield as Chidi, Sangwan, and Kuboki take up attacking duties.