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Leaders RoundGlass Punjab host desperate Real Kashmir

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PANCHKULA: Hero I-League leaders RoundGlass Punjab FC return home to host sixth-place Real Kashmir FC at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula on Friday (January 27, 2023), with the kick-off at 4:30 PM IST.

In their previous game in Kolkata, a rampant RoundGlass Punjab scored four past Mohammedan Sporting to end their unbeaten home run and go top of the table. To add to the joy of the Punjab fans, title rivals Sreenidi Deccan suffered a shock loss to relegation-battling Mumbai Kenkre on Monday. RoundGlass Punjab thus remain at the summit of the table with a game in hand, and could increase their advantage to four points with a victory over Real Kashmir.

Addressing the media at the prematch press conference, RoundGlass Punjab head coach Staikos Vergetis said, “We have discussed with the boys the good points and the improvements we need to make for the next game. As usual, we will give everything to get three points tomorrow.”

RoundGlass Punjab are one of the three teams in the league who are still unbeaten on home soil. The Greek coach believes that in order to keep the run going, his team needs to show courage and character. “Of course playing at home always helps, but our past matches are history and to continue that run, we will have to fight a lot,” Vergetis said.

In their previous meeting with Real Kashmir in December, RoundGlass Punjab handed them their first defeat, and since then the Snow Leopards are yet to win a single game. Vergetis feels that irrespective of the results, Real Kashmir remain one of the strongest sides in the league. “They have added more good players in their squad, so in my opinion, they are a very strong team,” he said.

Real Kashmir head coach Mehrajuddin Wadoo believes his side had an exceptional start to the campaign but a long stretch of games away from home has made life difficult for them. The Snow Leopards have picked up just three points from their last seven matches.

“We had a great start, winning almost all the home games. Since then, it has been difficult for us on the road. We are still winless (away from home), but there can be no excuses. We are focused on the next game, and we’ll make sure the boys give their hundred percent,” Wadoo said.

The former Indian international knows that RoundGlass Punjab will provide one of the toughest challenges his side has faced this season. “RoundGlass Punjab are at the top of the table and that defines everything. It won’t be easy for us to beat them. Our team chemistry has to be perfect tomorrow,” Wadoo added.

The match between RoundGlass Punjab and Real Kashmir will be broadcast live on Eurosport and Doordarshan Sports and streamed live on the Discovery Plus OTT platform.