Mohun Bagan lock horns with Club Valencia in AFC Cup Qualifier Second Leg
Written by: Sourav Neogi
Mohun Bagan scored a vital away goals in the Maldives...
Mohun Bagan, who only managed to get a draw against Club Valencia of the Maldives a few days ago in the first leg of the AFC Cup Qualifier will be hosting the Maldives club at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on Tuesday.
The Kolkata giants have had a rich history in the continental competition over the years. The Mariners, who are one of two clubs representing Indian football in this year’s AFC Cup, will be facing Club Valencia in their fourth AFC Cup fixture of this year. Mohun Bagan had played against the Male-based football club a few days ago, drawing 1-1 and are currently looking forward to a win over the Maldives team to progress in the cup this year.
Comparatively a new club in the AFC Cup, Club Valencia have participated in the prestigious competition three times before this year, all of which had been limited to the group stages of the competition. Being in their fourth appearance in the AFC Cup, the Male-based team defeated Bhutanese side Thimpu City FC in the previous round and drew against Indian side Bagan in the last game.
However, with recent successful years to back them up, the visitors are expecting to put on a tough fight and try their luck against the Indian giants to pursue the AFC Cup dream this year.
Mariners’ duo Pronay Halder and Darryl Duffy are out of the fixture due to exhaustion. The Green and Maroon brigade might also miss iconic winger Sony Norde who is doubtful to start to match after picking up a knee injury earlier this month.
The visitors will be missing several key players against Mohun Bagan as all of Hamdhaan Ibrahim, Abu and Dashmi are out with injuries and will not be available against the Kolkata giants. The Maldivws club does not have any suspensions which gives the coach full freedom to pick his matchday squad.
Head to Head
Tomorrow’s AFC Cup qualifying round match will be the second time these teams will be meeting each other in a competitive tournament after the first leg.
Sanjoy Sen-Mohun Bagan: The Mariners’ Head Coach was asked what he thinks about the tricky situation Mohun Bagan are in with Club Valencia in the tie to which he answered, “This is a must-win situation for us. So we will try to win the match by a handsome margin.” Sen also revealed that he believes the Mariners could have won the last match. He added, “From what I heard, we could have won the last match by a number of goals but it did not happen actually, it was a 1-1 draw.”
Sen confirmed the unavailability of several key players such as Pranoy Halder and Darryl Duffy against Valencia. When asked if the rotation is what made these players unavailable, he answered, “Not rotation. I don’t believe in rotation and all. Some of the players need the rest so I am concerned about their fitness,” he concluded.
Ahmed Mujuthaba-Club Valencia: We hope we can play a good match in the home of Mohun Bagan,” said the visiting coach when asked about his squad’s preparation for the next game. The Maldives team drew with the Indian club in the previous fixture at their home ground in Male with a score of 1-1. Mujuthaba was also asked about his assessment on his team’s Indian counterparts when he answered, “Mohun Bagan is a good team. They are really strong.”
Considering the fact this is the fourth time Valencia are appearing in the AFC Cup, the Maldives club are currently facing a disadvantage of an away goal conceded in the previous match. The coach was asked about his game plan against Mohun Bagan when he answered, “We will do everything that we will need to win.” “The only thing is we will have to win,” he further added. The visiting coach also pointed out the presence of the young blood amongst the team but praised his team’s potential, “I am very satisfied with the team,” as concluded.
Man to Watch
Eduardo Ferriera-Mohun Bagan: Mohun Bagan’s Equatorial Guinean defender helped his side to a 1-1 draw against the Maldives giants Club Valencia in the process. Eduardo, who played against Club Valencia few days ago, is expected to start once again on Tuesday against the Maldives side at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium.
Considering the attacking prowess of the visiting team, Eduardo is expected to be the silver lining in the Mariners’ squad. The Brazil-born defender brings the needed physicality in the Bagan defense and also is a dependable option in set-pieces.
Ibrahim Shiyam-Club Valencia: The 35-year old veteran forward will be the center of attention against Mohun Bagan on Tuesday. Shiyam started his career with Victory Sports Club in 2001 and has played at seven clubs in the Maldives. A master of trickery, Shiyam is well known for his movements both on and off the ball as well as his finishing abilities which led him to be nominated for the Haveeru Footballer of the Year award in his debut season.
His goal scoring prowess led the fans to give him several nicknames, “Dhona” and “Kuda Thoddoo” being some of them. He has been one of the most influential players in the Maldives national team, where he has represented his country in the FIFA World Cup Qualifier matches.
Mohun Bagan (4-4-2): Debjit, Kotal, Bikramjit, Eduardo, Subhasish, Bikramjit, Souvik, Raynier, Katsumi, Jeje, Azharuddin.
Club Valencia (4-2-3-1): Faisal, Ahmed, Yousuf, Chinda, Usam, Rilwan, Nihaan, Shiyam, Omodu, Saleem, Visam.
You can follow live commentary of the game on Khelnow.com from 04:00pm.
Published: Mon Feb 27, 2017 07:42 PM IST