The Kolkata-based side are currently fourth in the standings, with the visitors currently leading the pack.
Mohun Bagan look to get back to their feet as they host runaway league leaders Chennai City FC, at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday (1st December 2018). Not only can this crucial match help the Mariners give a strong reply after the 0-3 drubbing to Churchill Brothers, but it can also boost their chances of challenging for the I-League title. Chennai will look to repeat their heroics of victory in Kolkata earlier this month and attain another crucial win to take a sizeable lead in the title race.
After the embarrassing loss to Churchill, Sankarlal Chakraborty spoke on how important tomorrow’s match is in turning around The Mariners’ fortunes and said, “We had a stern discussion after the Churchill match. Before the Churchill Brothers match, we had played four matches. We took positives from those games. We received a total of 13 corners in the last match. Sony Norde hit the post. It was a bad day for us.”
“But now we take a strong side like Chennai. We have to give our best against them as they are at the top of the table. We have to beat them. We’ll be under pressure if we don’t win tomorrow. So tomorrow’s match could be a turning point in the season. We have to beat Chennai. We believe we can win against Chennai. You have to believe in yourself.” he opined.
The Mariners gaffer is disappointed at the earlier loss but is seeing beyond that as he said, “The entire team collapsed against Churchill. We had discussed that. It is a rare instance the entire team failed. We can’t overthink that. We have to look forward and perform well tomorrow.”
“It is a rare instance the entire team failed. We can’t overthink that. We have to look forward and perform well tomorrow.” he added.
Chakraborty praised his opponents for tomorrow and had some kind words for them before the game. He said, “We played badly in the last match. Chennai are at the top of the table and are performing consistently. They have a very strong attack, scoring a lot of goals. So of course they are the favorites tomorrow.”
However, when asked about his approach for tomorrow’s game, Chakraborty remained coy and said, “We have to organize ourselves to go for the attack against Chennai. However, we cannot go all out against them, as they have a very strong attack who can hurt us.”
Akbar Nawaz continues to take one game at a time approach and spoke about the importance of tomorrow’s game. He said, “We try to win every game which is the most important thing. I know it’s Mohun Bagan. They are a big team, but all opponents for me are treated eh same. I want to win all the matches.”
“Of course we have played a match Kolkata already, but I don’t think that’s an advantage. So whether we won against East Bengal or not, it does not matter. Mohun Bagan are a different team and tomorrow will be a different game. I can’t think about the past.” He explained when asked whether his team is at an advantage tomorrow having already won in Kolkata.
He shrugged off any talks of the Mariners being weakened by the defeat to Churchill, saying it’s only a one-off game. Nawaz explained, “Mohun Bagan are a very balanced side. Churchill was just a one-off game. They have the highest number of passing accuracy in the league. I am not thinking about their previous game.”
When persisted on which players he feels are the most important to his system, Nawaz said, “I have 31 players in the squad. The foreigners are definitely very important. They are elevating the level of the local players. But all players are crucial to the team.”
Finally, he spoke about whether Chennai City would give special attention in stopping Sony Norde tomorrow and said, “If you give importance to some particular players, that means the other players will get spaces. We have to look at them as a team.”
Henry Kisekka was the only player nursing an injury after the loss to Churchill Brothers, but he’s fit to play according to Chakraborty.
Chennai City FC
Pedro Manzi has also recovered from his nagging injury and should start. There are no more injury worries for the league leaders.
Mohun Bagan: Shilton, Bagui, Lalchhawnkima, Kingsley(C), Ambekar, Kinowaki, Das, Ruidas, Kisekka, Norde, Dicka.
Chennai City FC: Kabir, Vanspaul, Eslava, Bora, Ajithkumar, Anandraj, Raju, Jesuraj, Sandro, Nestor, Manzi(C).
The game will be telecasted live at 5 PM on Saturday on Star Sports 3 and will be available to stream on Hotstar and JioTV.