Floundering Chennai host rampant Mohun Bagan
Written by: Praveen R. Paramasivam
The hosts are looking for their win points of the season...
I-League debutants Chennai City welcome Mohun Bagan to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium as they eye a fresh start after enduring an uninspiring start to their campaign.
Despite earning an I-League ticket as a corporate club, City’s first season in the Indian top flight has hardly been a bed of roses as concerns pertaining to their home venue overshadowed their poor results. However, having finally nailed down Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium as their home for the remainder of the season, they can now prioritize results going forward.
Having registered one draw and two losses in the opening three games, Robin Charles Raja’s men now sit seventh although the solitary point they have earned came against fellow I-League debutants Minerva Punjab, who went on to lose the two subsequent fixtures, on opening day. Only Churchill Brothers and Shillong Lajong have collected fewer points than the Chennai club.
Four-time top flight champions Mohun Bagan have enjoyed a perfect start to their campaign, winning all three games – against Shillong Lajong, Minerva and Churchill Brothers. However, having not faced any top half club, their position – they sit second, with Bengaluru sitting atop on goal difference – hardly reflects their might although they are a fantastic side in their own right.
The City game ought to be a walk in the park for the Mariners, who have not conceded in 270 minutes. However, given City’s desperation for a positive result, the Kolkata club may be in for a tough skirmish in the city that has housed widespread protests against the ban on Jallikattu in the past few days.
Robin Charles may start Karanjit Singh again after his understudy Shahin Lal Meloli had an underwhelming display in the 2-0 defeat to DSK Shivajians on Tuesday night. Youngster Prasanth Karuthadathkuni may retain his place after impressing in the same fixture. Whether misfiring Brazilian duo Marcos Costa and Charles de Souza manage to earn yet another start remains to be seen.
Injured duo Kingshuk Debnath and Sehnaj Singh did not travel with the team whilst Raynier Fernandes, who only recently shrugged off an injury scare, was one of the 18 Mohun Bagan players to train in Chennai. Manager Sanjoy Sen may make a few changes to the starting line-up to avert fatigue-related injuries.
Head to Head
This is the first meeting between the two teams.
Man to Watch
Dharmaraj Ravanan-Chennai City: With Cty’s midfield lacking creativity and the frontline being toothless, the onus will be on the defenders to stop the prolific Mohun Bagan forwards from testing their shot-stopper frequently. Skipper Dharmaraj Ravanan had a commanding performance in Chennai against the Warriors although the same can hardly be said about his displays in the following two games. He should be at his impeccable best to help his home-state club halt their losing streak.
Darryl Duffy-Mohun Bagan: Scotland striker Darryl Duffy has netted four of the seven goals Mohun Bagan have scored so far, with Chennaiyin forward Jeje Lalpekhlua and former Chennaiyin’s first Indian goalscorer Balwant Singh claiming two and one, respectively. The former Swansea City marksman will hope to add to the tally against a City side, who are desperate for cohesion, stability and identity.
Chennai City: Karanjit, Clemente, Echezona, Ravanan, Debarata, Abhishek, Mundampara, Denson, Ganesh, Marcos, Charles
Mohun Bagan: Majumder, Kotal, Eduardo, Edathodika, Subhashish, Yusa, Halder, Chakraborty, Norde, Jeje, Duffy
You can watch the match live on Ten 2 from 07:00pm.
Published: Fri Jan 20, 2017 06:28 PM IST