Mariners seek to regain top flight crown won two seasons ago…
Despite facing recent problems with their home venue Rabindra Sarobar Stadium, Mohun Bagan are once again up and running and are ready to take on Churchill Brothers in the I-League opening fixture this season tomorrow.
The Mariners missed out on their second I-League trophy only being bettered by Karnataka outfit Bengaluru FC last season with a mere gap of two points. Bagan Head Coach Sanjoy Sen, as well as the players, are looking forward to not slipping out of the title race for the second year consecutively.
Meanwhile, the reinstatement of Churchill Brothers in India’s top-tier has brought back lots of memories for both the clubs. As a comparatively newer side and the only representative from Goa, Churchill Brothers are believed to be taking the league more seriously than ever and will look to re-establish themselves and finish in the top half of the table, as admitted by Churchill Brothers Coach Alfred Fernandes.
Unlike their city-rivals East Bengal, Mohun Bagan are currently without any injury concerns. However, ace foreign player Sony Norde is unavailable due to his absence for personal reasons. Brazilian defender Eduardo is also unavailable for selection against Churchill Brothers due to lack of match-fitness.
On the other side of the coin, Churchill Brothers are currently without the services of any of their foreign players, despite agreeing on deals with Anthony Wolfe, Bektur Talgat and A. Kroma. The Red Machines’ coach is also concerned about their poor preparation before the start of the prestigious tournament. Wolfe has trained with the team but will play no part tomorrow.
Mohun Bagan are scheduled to face a difficult opponent in Churchill Brothers. In the last five matches the teams met face-to-face, Churchill edges it over Mohun Bagan with two wins while three other matches have ended in draws.
Man to Watch
Darryl Duffy (Mohun Bagan: Summer signing Duffy has been a revelation into the Mariners’ dressing room. The Scottish striker is currently in a purple patch of his career. Coming from the Calcutta Football League where East Bengal ascended victoriously, Duffy scored six goals in his eight appearances helping the club to achieve the feat. If the former Salgaocar striker performs anywhere near his last season’s standards, the opposition teams are in for a match of nightmares.
Denzil Franco-Churchill Brothers: A SESA Football Academy graduate, Franco has previously played in other Indian sides such as Sporting Clube de Goa, Salgaocar and Mahindra United. The full-back has won several trophies such as Federation Cup, Durand Cup, IFA Shield and most importantly the I-League itself. With a comparatively young defense at Churchill’s disposal, the 30-year old veteran defender can be the silver lining for Churchill’s defense.
Mohun Bagan (4-4-2): Debjit, Kingshuk, Anas, Gaikwad, Pritam, Lewis, Pronay, Souvik, Katsumi, Jeje, Duffy.
Churchill Brothers (4-5-1): P.Singh, S.Singh, R.Rodrigues, D. Franco, K. Almeida, A. D’souza, B. Fernandes, A. Khan, K. Fernandes, S. Fernandes, A. Barbosa.
The match will be broadcasted live on Ten 2 from 07:00 PM. You can also follow the live commentary on www.khelnow.com.