Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) and defending champions Chennai City FC will look to return to winning ways when they clash in an I-League match at Khuman Lumpak Stadium in Imphal on Sunday.
Runaway league leaders Mohun Bagan have opened up an 11-point gap between it and second-placed Punjab FC but the teams lower down the standings are separated by a few points.
Only six points separate Punjab FC and tenth-placed Neroca.
TRAU and Chennai City are currently separated by just a point, placed fifth (15 points) and seventh (14 points) respectively.
The home side have turned plenty of eyes in their debut season in the top-flight, but have seen their momentum fizzle out following the dismissal of coach Dimitris Dimitriou.
TRAU suffered a 0-5 hammering at the hands of city-rivals Neroca before losing again in its subsequent away trip to Aizawl. A third defeat in a row could possibly derail its campaign.
However, TRAU captain Princewill Emeka was upbeat ahead of the game and said, “We are, of course, disappointed to have lost two games in a row but you look at our team and you will see players who are ready for any challenge that comes their way.
“The defeat will not be on the back of our heads when we’ll go to fight against Chennai City. We have shown what we are capable of as a team. It won’t be easy against the defending champions, but we are ready,” he said.
Chennai City began their I-League title defence against TRAU on the opening weekend, winning 1-0 in Coimbatore. They had a nervy spell where they found themselves in a relegation scrap but climbed back into the top four with two back-to-back wins over Indian Arrows and Churchill Brothers.
Their hopes of getting back in the title race, however, received a jolt when they lost 0-1 to Gokulam Kerala in the southern derby.
Head coach Akbar Nawas is not yet prepared to give up on the title chase.
“Realistically, we are still not giving up on the title chase until it is mathematically impossible. We did well in the last game despite not getting the win but against TRAU, I am confident. They like to play too. It will be interesting,” he said.
The match will broadcast LIVE on 1SPORT from 2:00 PM IST straight from Khuman Lampak Main Stadium in Imphal.