I-League 2017/18: Aizawl FC and Mohun Bagan square off in another potential title clash
The two teams who are still eyeing for the championship will fight tooth and nail at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Aizawl on Thursday.
Aizawl FC have collected 14 points in 9 matches and stand sixth in the table, while Mohun Bagan are currently in the fifth place with 16 points in 10 matches.
Both teams have met each other on 7 January, 2018 in Kolkata where the Mariners came out victorious with goals from Dipanda Dicka and thanks to an own goal scored by Masih Saighani.
Looking down memory lane, the last time Mohun Bagan visited Aizawl FC, the home side won by a single goal in what was famously mentioned as ‘the championship match’ as they went on to win the coveted title with Bagan losing out on the trophy by a whisker.
Aizawl FC gaffer Paulo Meneses stays confident ahead of the match, stating that his side will perform to make clear they get three points.
“If you remember what happened in Kolkata, we controlled the match but we were unlucky. But I assure you that tomorrow will be a different match. We are the champions and we play at home. So, we will play to get three points,” he said.
The home side will be without key player Kareem Omolaja who suffered an injury in their last match against NEROCA and midfield maestro David Lalrinmuana is still doubtful.
“It will be difficult to fill the void left by a player like Kareem. We will miss him but there are other good options and we are ready to come up with that,” Meneses remarked.
However, the home fans will be more than happy to welcome back Afghan centre-back Masih Saighani, who will be available for Thursday’s match after serving his suspension against NEROCA.
Speaking ahead of the match, Mohun Bagan head coach Sankarlal Chakraborty kept his calm as ever. “Last year, we lost the championship match against Aizawl FC by a solitary goal. Now our aim is to win tomorrow’s match and stay in the championship. It is always difficult to play in Aizawl but we will play attacking football to go home with three points,” he explained.
“I feel no pressure this time. We are not focusing on the other teams, now it’s only Aizawl FC,” he added.
Mohun Bagan will be looking for their fourth consecutive win as attacking spearhead Dipanda Dicka and newly-recruited Lebanese midfielder Akram Moghrabi are likely to lead the team. The likes of former Aizawl FC captain Ricky Lallawmawma, local boy Beikhokhei Beingaichho and Aizawl FC’s old favourite Eze Kingsley are also set for the big match.