Kolkata: Former champions Mohun Bagan will look to continue their winning momentum when they take on a struggling Shillong Lajong FC in their second round I-League football match, which will be back at their original home venue Rabindra Sarobar Stadium after a legal tussle.
“We had appealed at the National Green Tribunal and the verdict has come in our favour,” Mohun Bagan managing director Anjan Mitra said.
Acting on a plea, the NGT did not allow their opening match in the eco-sensitive stadium near Rabindra Sarobar lake as Barasat had hosted their match against Churchill. Boosted by the verdict, Mohun Bagan will look to rule the roost against Lajong who did not have the best of starts to the 10th season after a 3-0 hammering in Bangalore.
Coach Thangboi Singto opted to field eight under-22 players while their foreigners also could not match up to the defending champions’ brilliance. 2015 champions Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, were lucky and narrowly defeated Churchill Brothers riding on a Balwant Singh strike. The Sanjoy Sen-coached side will look to bring on the in-form forward and AIFF Player of the Year Jeje Lalpekhlua. Mohun Bagan also have health concern over Darryl Duffy, who did not train with the team today following a mild fever.
“Duffy complained of fever and was advised rest. Hope it’s nothing serious,” Sen said. “My players know they have to win most of the matches to win the I-League. It may not be easy but our focus will be to hold the momentum. Lajong will be tough opponents and we need to stay focused.”
Meanwhile, Bagan’s ace forward Sony Norde has checked in today amid a hero’s welcome but the Haitian will have to wait for his first match in his third season for the green and maroon brigade. “I am yet to have a word with the coach, looking forward to meet him,” he said on his arrival.
Playing their seventh season in the I-League, the Shillong outfit will look to regroup fast and bring the best in tomorrow’s game. They will also look to combine much better with one another on the pitch and Singto is expecting more quality and aggression and more contribution from his foreign signings.
“Mohun Bagan is as strong as last year with lots of good Indian players. Their foreigners and mainly Jeje will be a big threat in tomorrow’s game but as for us, we will play a confident attacking football tomorrow,” Singto said.
“We have to learn from the last mistakes and play stronger both defensively and in attack,” he added.
“All the players are available and we have worked on improving our shortcomings and we will play more confidently and go for a good result,” he concluded.