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Aiming for top spot, RoundGlass Punjab take on Rajasthan United

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An in-form RoundGlass Punjab FC will be keen to keep their good run going when they take on Rajasthan United FC in the third round fixture of Hero I-league 2022-23 season at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula on Wednesday, November 23, 2022.

The hosts, in their previous encounter, won narrowly against Mohammedan SC, thanks to an early goal by Luka Majcen, while Rajasthan United will seek a return to form as they faced a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Real Kashmir. The two teams previously faced each other on two occasions with Punjab winning both the games.

The RoundGlass Punjab head coach Staikos Vergetis will be looking for his team to build on their good start.

“It’s positive that we started the season with, two wins but we have not relaxed. We have an important game against Rajasthan and we have to stay focused to get another positive result,” he said.

Defender Deepak Devrani feels that the home advantage will be helpful for his side. “Rajasthan are a strong team. They had a longer pre-season than us, but we are also a good side. Also, we are playing at our home ground, so three points are always the target for us here.”

While this is RGP’s second match in three days, Vergetis does not yet feel the need to make many changes to his starting XI.

“It sometimes gets difficult for the players to play back-to-back matches, but I don’t want to make many changes. We don’t want the team to lose the momentum,” the Greek coach added.

Rajasthan United head coach Pushpender Kundu showed ample respect of his opponents on the eve of the game.

“Punjab are a very good team. They have quality players and they are very well coached. They have won the first two matches on their home ground. We are taking them very seriously,” Kundu said.

Rajasthan United midfielder Joseba Beitia, a former RoundGlass Punjab player himself, feels that it will be a special occasion for him to face his former club.

“It’s a special game for me, I have spent two years with Punjab but I am now with Rajasthan, and I’m eager to get the win for my club. It will be a difficult match and we know they have a very strong team. They have already got six points, but I think we are playing well and we are ready for this challenge,” the Spaniard said on his return.

The match between RoundGlass Punjab FC and Rajasthan United FC will kick off at 4.30 PM IST, and will be broadcast live on Eurosport and Doordarshan Sports, and streamed live on the Discovery Plus OTT platform.

Mohammedan Sporting Vs NEROCA FC

Last season’s runners-up Mohammedan Sporting are yet to open their account this season with two losses in two so far. The Black and White Brigade will be looking to turn their fortunes around when they play their first home game against NEROCA FC at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Wednesday, November 23 at 7:00 PM.

Mohammedan travelled to face strong oppositions in the shape of Gokulam Kerala and RoundGlass Punjab in the first two rounds, losing 0-1 on each occasion. Andrey Chernyshov’s side found themselves trailing after just three minutes against RG Punjab in Panchkula on Sunday and, despite dominating possession for much of the contest, couldn’t find a way back.

“We played really well against Punjab. The quality of football was good but the result wasn’t on our side. We couldn’t make the most of our chances and we need to be more aggressive in attack,” said Chernyshov.

“Against NEROCA, we want to start well and press them from the first minute,” he added.

Last season’s Golden Boot winner Marcus Joseph has had a rough start to the season. The Trinidad and Tobago striker picked up an injury in pre-season at the Baji Rout Cup in Odisha and missed the first game against Gokulam. He was finally fit to start against RoundGlass Punjab. “Marcus back with the team now but it isn’t easy for him as we have been travelling a lot for the away matches,” said Chernyshov.

The Russian coach is looking forward to Mohammedan’s first match at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan. “It’s our first home game and we want to, and need to win this game in front of our supporters. We want to make the most of our home advantage.”

NEROCA FC, who were beaten by Real Kashmir in their opening match, got off the mark for the season with a 1-0 victory over Sudeva Delhi last Friday. New striker signing Jourdain Fletcher’s excellent long-range strike in the second half made the difference for the Orange Brigade.

Wangkhem Khogen Singh, now in his second season as NEROCA head coach, shared his thoughts on his side’s start to the competition. “In the first match (against Real Kashmir), we were unlucky. We then won the second match against Sudeva Delhi. I’m happy with the spirit in the team as we are working hard to do better.”

When asked about the improvements he would like to see going ahead, Khogen replied, “I want my team to convert the chances we create during the match and we are working on it.”

Also working to improve with every game is NEROCA’s new goalkeeper signing Soram Poirei. “As every season, my target is to help my team in every way possible and do better with every match.”

The 29-year-old is delighted to be a part of the Orange Brigade this season. “It’s my childhood club and my family is also close with NEROCA. I feel confident with the support I get,” Poirei added.

NEROCA’s Wednesday’s opponents Mohammedan may have lost both their opening matches but coach Khogen believes it’s going to be a big challenge for his side, especially away from home.

“Mohammedan are a good team with experienced players and they also have the home advantage. But anything can happen in the match. We will stick to our plan and give our best,” he stated.