I-League 2017: Mohun Bagan vs Neroca FC, Predicted XI
Mohun Bagan face off against the newly promoted Manipuri side Neroca FC in a mid-week I-League 2017.The home side will host the Northeastern side at the Vivekananda Yuvabharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium) in Kolkata.
Mohun Bagan will look to return to winning ways after drawing their last game against Shillong Lajong which saw them breaking their two-game winning streak. The match ended 1-1 at the Salt Lake Stadium as Mohun Bagan let their lead slip after former Shillong Lajong man Asier Dipanda Dicka had put them ahead. The Mariners conceded a penalty and Shillong skipper Samuela converted it to level the scores.
Mohun Bagan suffered another setback as their center-back Kingsley Eze was sent off in the 73rd minute of the match. The former Aizawl FC man's absence will definitely be a cause for concern for Bagan manager Sanjoy Sen. There have been no official updates on the injuries to Sony Norde, Ansumana Kromah, and Arijit Bagui but it seems Kromah will be back in action. Midfielder Yuta Kinowaki's collarbone injury has prompted the Kolkata giants to act quickly and they have roped in former Bengaluru FC player Cameron Watson, as he fulfills the Asian player criteria.
Neroca FC, on the other hand, will be in high spirits after their two wins over Gokulam FC and Chennai City FC. The Manipur team had lost their opening fixture 2-1 away in Ludhiana to Minerva Punjab but have managed to bounce back nicely. They played their first home game on 15th December in front of a capacity crowd and will be raring to go after the morale-boosting win. Neroca coach Gift Raikhan will know the threat that the Kolkata giants pose and hope his players are up to the task in Kolkata as well.
Mohun Bagan manager Sanjoy Sen will expect more consistency from his side and has asked them to avoid committing silly mistakes.
The Bagan side will have the experienced veteran Shilton Paul in goal with Kingshuk Debnath in the center-back position. Kingshuk will likely have Rana Gharami as his defensive partner as Kingsley Eze serves his suspension for the red card. Ricky and Abhishek Das will complete the defence for the Kolkata side.
New signing Cameron Watson could make a direct entry into the lineup and will have Mumbai lad Raynier Fernandes alongside him. Youngsters Naro Hari Shreshta and Sk. Faiaz will man the wings for the Mariners. Ansumana Kromah is expected to recover from his injury and will likely start in attack with last season's top scorer Asier Dipanda Dicka.
Mohun Bagan Probable Starting XI (4-4-2): Shilton Paul; Abhishek Das, Rana Gharami, Kinshuk Debnath, Ricky; Sk. Faiaz, Cameron Watson, Raynier Fernandes; Naro Hari Shrestha; Ansumana Kromah, Aiser Dipanda Dicka.
Neroca FC manager Gift Raikhan will count on his side's motivation after two wins on the trot and hope his players stick to his plan against the Kolkata giants at home.
Neroca will most likely field an unchanged lineup from the one that won at home against Chennai City FC. The Imphal side will have Lalit Thapa in the goal who will be on his toes to keep the Bagan attacking threats at bay. The Neroca defensive line will be manned by former India defender Gourmangi Singh and Tondonba Singh, who will have Liberian Kiatamba Jr. and Govin Singh in support on the wings.
The midfield will likely have former Perth Glory man Aryn Williams in front of the defence forming the link between the attack and defence. Haitian Fabian Vorbe, Yumnam Singh, Pritam Singh and former Mohun Bagan player Subhash Singh complete the midfield for the Northeastern side. The attack for Neroca FC will be led by Nigerian Odili Felix Chidi, who is in good touch having scored two goals so far in the league.
Neroca FC Probable Starting XI (4-1-4-1): Thapa; Gourmangi, Tondonba, Govin, Kiatamba Jr; Williams, Vorbe, Pritam, Yumnam, Subhash; Chidi
Mohun Bagan 2 - 1 Neroca FC
Mohun Bagan will likely clinch this one as they will be raring to go after their draw against Lajong. New signing Watson and the possible return of Kromah will be a boost for the Mariners though Kingsley's absence can be a cause for concern.
Neroca FC are in good spirits and may just grab a goal at the Salt Lake Stadium but still, the Bagan attack can prove too much to handle for the I-League newcomers. Still, an unexpected upset can never be ruled out.