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Aizawl host Arrows in I-League tie

Aizawl, Feb 22 (IANS) With all hopes of retaining the title gone, defending champions Aizawl FC will play for pride when they host Indian Arrows in an I-League game here on Friday.

Arrows, who are lying at the bottom of the 10-team table with 15 points after 16 games, will need nothing but the full three points in order to climb up the ladder.

Aizawl have been winless in the last eight games and could only garner five points from those outings.

Luis Norton de Matos-coached Arrows are a bit ahead in terms of recent form as they have amassed five points from their last four outings.

“I’m really glad to be here in Aizawl and I am very proud of the boys. We cannot forget that this is not a senior team and we want to learn and progress in football. After 16 games the expectation was less than what we achieved and 15 points are good. Every team in the league depends a lot on foreigners and we have no foreigners,” Matos said.

“Our main aim is not the points but the development of the boys. We have to think the development of all the boys. After two to three years, these boys will develop to another level,” he added.

Edmund Lalrindika, who scored his first goal of the season against Aizawl in their last match said: “I’m excited to be playing in Aizawl. In our last three games, we won one and drew two. We will play to get three points tomorrow.”

The former India U-19 skipper also pointed out that the crowd support behind Aizawl FC might give the hosts an edge over them.

“If we can play our game, I know we can win but it won’t be an easy game as Aizawl FC always have a huge crowd,” Lalrindika said.

Aizawl will need more than a miracle to retain their title and head coach Santosh Kashyap spoke cautiously before the match.

“We need to think one game at a time. We are in the relegation battle but we will play for three points tomorrow. All the players are good enough to be good in the squad but we lost a few players due to injury and sickness,” he said.

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