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I-League 2022-23: Desperate Rajasthan United host struggling Gokulam Kerala (preview)

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) Two teams on a downward spiral in the I-League 2022-23, Rajasthan United and Gokulam Kerala, will face each other at the Ambedkar Stadium, here on Wednesday.

While things looked good for Rajasthan United in the early stages of the season, they have been one of the league’s worst performers after the winter break. The Desert Warriors have picked up just one win in the last seven games, and have lost the last five in a row. They have now stumbled down to tenth position, just four points above the relegation zone.

“It is a difficult time. This is a period every team faces. It is not that we are not playing well. We dominate games but sometimes lose focus, concede silly goals and suffer narrow defeats,” said Rajasthan United head coach Pushpender Kundu at the pre-match press conference.

During their pre-season, Rajasthan United won the Baji Rout Cup and had a successful outing in the Durand Cup, reaching the knockouts. Kundu feels those tournaments are a precedent of his team’s quality.

“I always try to remind my players of what we have achieved in the past, in the Durand Cup, in the Baji Rout Cup. It is time for us all to come together and take this challenge, and motivate each other. We lose together and win together,” said an inspired Kundu.

His counterpart and former Rajasthan United head coach Francesc Bonet’s time at his new club has yielded a mixed bag of results.

While it was three wins in his first four games in-charge, three straight losses after that have seen Gokulam’s hopes for a hat-trick of I-League titles evaporate. The Malabarians are now 13 points below leaders Sreenidi Deccan and RoundGlass Punjab.

But Bonet sounded hopeful in the pre-match press conference.

“We still have six matches to play and then there is the Super Cup. We know what we are doing wrong and we are working on correcting it. There’s no lack of motivation,” he said.

This will be Bonet’s first game against his former club, however, that isn’t going to play on his mind and Wednesday’s match will be just like any other.

“From last season there are only two players in the Rajasthan squad, so there’s really not much I know about their squad. We will prepare for this game as we prepare for any other game,” said Bonet.