The Mariners will look to keep page with group leaders Bengaluru FC…
Mohun Bagan play hosts to Maziya S&RC in the AFC Cup group stage match at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Bagan showed some impressive football in their 3-1 thumping of Abahani Limited in the last round and they’ll look to continue that form against the rattled Maziya side. The Maldives side themselves fell to a crushing defeat when John Johnson scored a late winner for Bengaluru FC.
This could be a decisive game considering that a win could ensure qualification for Bagan, while Maziya will look to stay in the hunt for that qualification spot and will prove to be a big threat for the flying Mariners. With a lot at stake in this match, both teams will be on the attack and look to get all three points and catch up to leaders Bengaluru FC who are flying away with the group as it progresses.
Mohun Bagan are still missing some key players in Pronoy Halder and Subhashish Bose, who are out for some weeks due to nagging injuries. The Mariners will make some changes to the team considering that they have a title decider against Aizawl FC next weekend and will look to bring in some of the bench players to impress the coach. Prabir Das might get a start on the wings, while Balwant Singh will also most probably return to the line-up as well. Souvik Chakraborty can make a return to the first XI, while Sony Norde and Katsumi Yusa will start the game but Sanjoy Sen will look to take them off to give them rest for the crunch match at the weekend.
Maziya will probably go with an unchanged side as they’ll look to be on the defensive against the attacking threat which Mohun Bagan possess right now.
Head To Head
This will be the first time these two teams lock horns in their history.
Man to Watch
Balwant Singh-Mohun Bagan: Balwant Singh lost his place in the Mohun Bagan starting line-up in their 1-0 win over Minerva Punjab at the weekend and he’d definitely want to boost his chances of making the lineup against Aizawl by performing well in the AFC Cup match against Maziya. The formidable Indian striker scored a solid goal against Abahani Limited in their last AFC Cup match and looked really threatening at that as well and knowing his ability to go past defenders and put the ball in the back of the net, one can expect him to flourish against a stubborn team like Maziya. Singh will want to improve his tally in the AFC Cup and give The Mariners all three points against Maziya, as he’d need to be at his sharpest to get a goal past Maziya’s defense and show Sanjoy Sen why he should be starting in the title decider at the weekend.
Assadhulla Abdulla-Maziya S&RC: Maziya S&RC have been forced to be on the defensive in their matches so far in the AFC Cup Group stages, as their lack of creativity and talent in the middle of the park has hit them hard on the attacking front. But despite not being the most exciting side on the attack, Maziya still manage to score the goal thanks to their influential captain Assadhulla Abdulla who had an excellent season in the league for Maziya last season. He was selected as one of the top 3 players in the league last season, where he scored 32 goals for Maziya and helped them lift the Milo Charity Oreedoo Dhivehi Premier League shields. Abdulla scored in Maziya’s opening match win over Abahani Limited and will look to do the same against The Mariners on Wednesday. His superb movement in the box and ability to finish chances will make him a tough man to contain for Bagan, who themselves will probably rest some players ahead of their title decider against Aizawl FC. Abdulla can inspire his team to come back from the crushing defeat to Bengaluru and dethrone the Indian Giants at their own home, as he’ll need to be prolific for Maziya to get anything out of the game.
Mohun Bagan: Majumder, Golui, Debnath, Ferreira, Gaikwad, Chakraborty, Yusa, Mallick, Norde, Singh, Jeje.
Maziya S&RC: Matiash, Kovacevic, Samooh, Cordos, Ali, Habeeb, Umair, Imaaz, A.Ali, Rakic, Abdulla.