Former Hero I-League Champions Mohun Bagan, are all set to clash swords against Shillong Lajong in the Semi-finals of the Hero Federation Cup at the Barasat Stadium in Kolkata on May 08, 2016.
While the Mariners ran out 7-2 aggregate winners over Salgaocar in the last round, Lajong needed extra time to book their berth, winning 4-3 on aggregate against another Kolkata outfit East Bengal.
The return of Sony Norde certainly gave a new dimension to the Mohun Bagan side, who cruised to a thumping victory in their last round at home and, the Haitian is expected to line up alongside Katsumi Yusa on either wings as Mohun Bagan would look to their winning streak in the Hero Federation Cup.
Speaking at the Official Pre-Match Press Conference, Mohun Bagan’s Head Coach Sanjoy Sen said, “The Federation Cup semi-final is obviously a big match. We will obviously play to win. I don’t think there is much of a difference between home and away”
Commenting on Bagan’s opponents Shillong Lajong, Sen opined, “Shillong Lajong are a very good side. They got past East Bengal twice and that it itself is a great achievement. We have to be careful since they possess the necessary Players to hurt our chances”
Sen however said that his team had shown that they could score any time and he would rather make clean sheets his priority, citing Real Madrid’s example.”A team like Real Madrid boasting the likes of (Gareth) Bale and (Cristiano) Ronaldo – they also scored only a single goal while keeping a clean sheet over two legs. That is the target,” said the Mariners boss referring to Real Madrid’s clash against Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
Much would thus depend on the backline of Luciano Sobrosa and Kinshuk Debnath who would look to keep another clean sheet after the Salgaocar encounter.
Thangboi Singto meanwhile praised his Team’s grit and determination, as they never gave up even after going 2-1 down against East Bengal and fought back to tie the match and progress.
Uilliams Souza will look to start upfront with Fabio Pena with Penn Orji operating from behind the two front men in a roving role. It will be up to young Nim Dorjee Tamang once again to marshal his defense against the dangerous Mohun Bagan attack. Robin Gurung will be back in the side while Boithang Haokip will look to reprise his role after a marvellous display against the ‘Red and Golds’.
With the second leg in their own backyard, slated for May 14, 2016, Singto said that it is paramount that his side return with an away goal, while looking to win the first leg itself.