Currently holding a five-point lead over the second-placed Sreenidi Deccan, RoundGlass Punjab FC could clinch the 2022-23 I-League title with a game to spare if they beat Rajasthan United FC at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday.
Rajasthan United head into this game after finally having found some form. The Desert Warriors have won consecutive games away from home with a similar margin of 1-0 against NEROCA and Mohammedan Sporting, respectively. They are now back home in Ambedkar for their final two games, hoping to finish the season on a high note.
Despite being the underdogs, Rajasthan United head coach Pushpender Kundu believes his team has a good chance of spoiling RoundGlass Punjab's party.
"It is not going to be easy for RoundGlass Punjab to win the title tomorrow. They will have to face us on our home turf. We are determined to win the game and climb higher on the table. My boys are confident and ready for this challenge," Kundu was quoted as saying by I-League.
Kundu then thanked the Rajasthan United fans for supporting his team continuously. "Even when we were going through a difficult phase, your support and best wishes kept our players motivated, which helped us come back strongly. We are committed to making our fans happy," he added.
RoundGlass Punjab were level on points with Sreenidi just a week ago, but the Deccan Warriors have failed to replicate their home form on the road, dropping five points in their last two games. The North Indians have won five on the trot, including an 8-0 drubbing of Sudeva Delhi and a 3-1 defeat of Churchill Brothers. And on Saturday, history beckons for them.
RoundGlass Punjab head coach Staikos Vergetis is not expecting an easy outing against Rajasthan United. He said, "Just like the previous game, we have another tough game. All the games this season have been difficult, and the championship has been highly competitive. We will have to be careful and present a good offensive performance to chase a win tomorrow."
In the reverse fixture, Rajasthan United became the first team to take points off RoundGlass Punjab in Panchkula when 18-year-old Gyamar Nikum scored an injury-time equaliser. Recalling the game, Vergetis believes they will have to be extra focused to create history tomorrow. "I remember that goal in the final minute, and it is something which can happen in any game. Tomorrow's game will be a historic one right from the kick-off, and we have to remain focused throughout."
Even with the stakes running so high, Vergetis dismissed any sort of pressure on his side. The Greek coach, who always takes one game at a time, said, "For us, the upcoming game is the most important thing in our life, and after that, the next game will be the most important one. In my entire coaching career, I have always followed a similar mentality." (ANI)