Kolkata: Tough challenge awaits for Mohun Bagan as table-toppers Chennai City FC will look to maintain their stranglehold in the I-League on Saturday, boosted by a 3-0 drubbing by Churchill Brothers in their previous outing at home.
After having won five of their six games, the Chennai City juggernaut now reaches the home of city giants Mohun Bagan for a clash at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan.
The visitors are on a dream run while the hosts are on the backfoot after a stunning reverse against Churchill Brothers in the last game.
Only two statistical points work in Mohun Bagan’s favour going into the game. The fact that they have conceded two fewer goals than Chennai in the campaign so far, albeit with a match in hand, and that they lead the head-to-head 2-1.
Besides such trivia, the prospect of facing Chennai’s Spanish armada seems daunting even at home. What has stood out for the southerners this year has been that every time they have conceded, which they did in every game, they came back confidently.
The visitors’ Singaporean coach Akbar Nawas would be ever so grateful for the services rendered by his Spanish quartet, in particular by midfielders Nestor Jesus and Sandro Rodriguez, for the position in which they find themselves in.
Although no praise is worthy enough for the kind of performances that Indians like Romario Jesuraj, Lourdusamy, Ajith Kamraj and the likes have dished out in the company of the Spaniards.
“We take to every game to compete and see where does that leave us after 90 mins. That’s what we have set out to do. We take Mohun Bagan as a team seriously and will play to compete with them as a team,” said Akbar Nawas.
Mohun Bagan have been a bit shaky in their approach, which might come back to haunt them at the business end of the league. They had two wins for the taking against Gokulam and Aizawl but threw them away, despite dominating. Against Churchill, their defence was thoroughly exposed and coach Sankarlal Chakraborty will have his hands full on Saturday.
“Nestor, Manzi belong to a different class. If you go to mark them individually, you are bound to fail. You have to focus on zonal marking and we’ll plan accordingly too,” said the head coach.
He added, “There are minor niggles but not any major injury concern for us. Sony is getting fitter with every training session and the process will continue.”