Aizawl: Defending champions Aizawl FC will host Goan outfit Churchill Brothers in their first home fixture of the I-League this season at their fortress Rajiv Gandhi Stadium. Last season, Aizawl had scored six goals while conceding two against Churchill Brothers, collecting maximum points against the Goan side.
Aizawl's Portuguese coach Paul Menezes said his side will try to retain the title and fight for three points in every match.
"We will play the way we played in the Mizoram Premier League. Sometimes we have to defend we cannot attack the opponents all the time," Menezes said at the pre-match press conference.
"Several key players have left us but I hope we can form a strong team this season. After collecting one point against East Bengal I expect three points against Churchill Brothers."
He said Romanian striker Andrei Ionescu was a key player in attack and it's good that he will be available against Churchill.
Captain and key midfielder Alfred Jaryan said, "Last season was a great one and the fans played their part too. We will try to replicate last season's form and will give our best in every game. We play for the club, fans and also most important Mizoram."
The Rajiv Gandhi Stadium was an impregnable fortress last season as Aizawl garnered 25 points form a possible 27.
Two-time I-League champions Churchill had not had a decent start to the season, having lost two of their opening matches against Shillong Lajong and Mohun Bagan. The Goan side, coached by Ukrainian coach Mykola Shevchenko, are yet to score their first goal this season while conceding seven.
Shevchenko, who has played for Churchill earlier, is optimistic that his team will gain the much-needed confidence against Aizawl FC.
A centre-back in his playing days, Shevchenko said, "We have lost two straight matches and I hope we can develop and change as a team tomorrow. We came with a new mindset hoping to regain our confidence.
"We have travelled a lot these days and this makes it harder for the player's recovery but injuries is part and parcel of the game."