A win will enable the Red Machines to move to the second spot in the standings.
Mohun Bagan look to get their first win at home against a resurgent Churchill Brothers on Sunday at the Salt Lake Stadium. Churchill, like the Mariners, are also undefeated in the new season and playing much more effectively. It’s a crunch game for Mohun Bagan, who’d like to entertain their home fans with something special and continue their charge as title challengers, while Churchill looks to gain more important points on the road.
Petre Gigiu (Churchill Brothers)
Churchill’s coach Petre Gigiu was asked on his thoughts on a difficult match against Mohun Bagan and their preparation towards it. He said, “We’ve played four games up until now. But the real test starts now for me and my team. We meet a very good team in Mohun Bagan tomorrow with great tradition.”
“I know many great players including Pele has played in this city. I know football is very important for everyone here in Kolkata. I think it’ll be a game which will be difficult for both teams, but I hope we have a good game for the supporters,” Gigiu added.
The Romanian was later asked about his thoughts on Mohun Bagan so far and whether he’d take a point from the game. He answered, “I’ve seen a few games of Mohun Bagan and know that they have a very good team this time. They’re very intelligent in all compartments. The first thing we’ll try to do is play a good game. I’m not thinking about the result right now.”
Churchill’s coach was then asked whether he has any special plans to contain the threat of Mohun Bagan star Sony Norde and said, “For my team, we don’t really put that much emphasis on any one player. We’ll focus on containing their whole team and play as a unit tomorrow and if we play well, we could get a positive result.”
Gigiu was questioned whether the experience of stars Willis Plaza and Khalid Aucho in playing at Kolkata can play as an advantage for them. He said, “For now, these players play for Churchill Brothers. Maybe them playing in Kolkata could work in their favor, but for now, we’re all a unit in Churchill Brothers and must play well for the city of Goa.”
He was also asked about how the players were motivated on getting a second chance to play in the I-League despite being relegated the last season and said, “Last season, I wasn’t here. I don’t know what happened last season. I’m happy because many people are here, which means that my team is important now.”
“This is very good and maybe that’s a bit my work. In general, I don’t like to lose, I like to work hard to win games and I’m translating my idea to my players, which could be motivating them,” he concluded.
Sankarlal Chakraborty (Mohun Bagan)
Mohun Bagan gaffer Sankarlal Chakraborty was asked about whether he feels his team has added pressure to win the game considering it is a home match. He said, “We’re not thinking about any added pressure. We’re only thinking about how we can win tomorrow’s tough match. The opponent team has many strong teams which we know about. We’re only thinking about how we’ll outwit them and get a win.”
Chakraborty was also asked about how they’ll deal with Churchill’s dangerous foreign players and said, “The five foreigners they have are all gelling well and playing really well together. Their domestic base also played really well in the last match and we need to be wary of their threat as a total unit.”
He was quizzed about whether the knowledge of Churchill possibly playing for a draw could cause extra headaches for Mohun Bagan tomorrow. He said, “In the whole world, the clubs who are competing for trophies always have this kind of pressure on them. However, we cannot think about that during the game.”
“If we think about any pressure during the game, it’ll cause many problems. So accordingly, we keep the pressure aside and think about how to make the players easily understand how to play a winning game,” he added.
Chakraborty was also asked to give an update on Shilton D’Silva’s condition and Sony Norde’s match fitness. He said, “Shilton’s fine. Whether or not Sony can play 90 minutes is up to our fitness coach. Not only Sony, but any other player will be able to play a whole game is something we cannot predict right now. Nobody knows what can happen at anyone.”
The Mariners gaffer was asked about whether the possible lack of Willis Plaza for Churchill can play in their favor. He said, “No I don’t think so. The Churchill team isn’t dependent on only one player alone. They are a very strong unit.”
Chakraborty was asked about whether he’s giving the players some extra guidance on how to win matches at home after failing to do so on many occasions last season. He said, “If we keep aside some of last season’s results, the boys have played some great football at home. In this league, upsets are natural. I’ve told my players to enjoy the games and that results will come automatically if they do so.”
The Mariners coach was also asked on whether he feels Mohun Bagan had added advantage to Churchill in this game regarding their current form. He said, “No there’s no advantage for us in this game. Churchill are a different beast this season. And it’s not only because they’re unbeaten. The better quality of their players, the style of play and their whole totality make them a very dangerous side.”
Chakraborty was finally questioned about whether he’ll change up his tactics to contain some of their key players like Khalid Aucho or Willis Plaza tomorrow and said, “Yes absolutely. It’s because they have some key players that we might mark them differently. It’s not that we’re scared of them. It’s just that we’re respecting the quality of their individuals.”
Shilton D’Silva is fine after suffering a knock in training. Sony Norde could also feature in the game, but is unlikely to play a whole 90 minutes. Apart from that, there are no persisting injury issues for the Mariners.
Churchill Brothers’ star striker Willis Plaza has a nagging injury but could start tomorrow. Apart from that, they have a fully fit squad.
Mohun Bagan- Paul (GK), Bagui, Dalraj, Kingsley, Ambekar, Kinowaki, Das, Mahata, Norde, Kisekka, Dicka.
Churchill Brothers- Baskaran (GK), Vaz, Eldor, Novakovic, Martins, Fernandes, Costa, Hangshing, Gurung, Ceesay(C), Plaza
The game will be telecasted at 5 PM on Sunday on Star Sports 3, Hotstar and Jio TV.