I-League: Bharat FC host leaders Mohun Bagan in crunch encounter
Bharat FC will host I-League leaders Mohun Bagan in a key encounter at the Balewadi stadium on Tuesday.
Still smarting from the blow of the defeat against Sporting Clube de Goa, Bharat FC will take on table-toppers Mohun Bagan AC in a pivotal rescheduled Hero I-League round 4 encounter.
The encounter between Bharat FC and Mohun Bagan AC will be played at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Mhalunge-Balewadi and will kick-off at 7 pm on Tuesday. The match will be telecast live.
Bharat FC have not come into the game in the best of form. The Lions slipped to a 2-0 defeat against Sporting Clube de Goa at Fatorda and head coach Stuart Watkiss has demanded a reaction from his players on Tuesday.
“We did not really put in the best of performances against Sporting. We did not display the commitment and heart that we are usually known for. It has been a tough two days and I hope that the lads are thinking about the mistakes they made and the what they have to do on Tuesday to get a positive result,” said Watkiss.
Bharat FC are currently in 11th spot in the table with 12 points from 15 games. On the other hand, Mohun Bagan AC drew 1-1 against Mumbai FC on Saturday.
The Kolkata side are currently leading the Hero I-League standings with 32 points from 15 games but with Bengaluru FC and Royal Wahingdoh FC snapping at their heels, the Mariners will be going all out for three points according to Mohun Bagan AC’s head coach Sanjoy Sen.
Bharat FC had suffered a 2-0 defeat against Mohun Bagan in April, the first ever meeting between the two sides. The Lions’ head coach, Stuart Watkiss, though was upbeat on the eve of the game, saying that he was confident that his team had enough quality to force a positive result.
“Yes, the last two weeks have not been particularly easy. We have had two defeats in a row but I think this game is the perfect occasion for the team to bounce back and prove its mettle. We are playing the oldest club in India, the current table-toppers. A positive result against such a good side will do my team a world of good and I am sure the lads have given that a thought,” said the 48-year-old.
New Zealand international striker Kris Bright, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, is not expected to be a part of the squad. The rest of the playing contingent is fit and available for selection. Mohun Bagan AC will welcome back former Cameroon international, Pierre Boya, to the 18-man squad while India international Balwant Singh is expected to start the game.
Watkiss said that with just five games to go till the end of the season, every member of his team needs to step up and deliver.
“We have got good, hardworking players. We just need them to back themselves, go out there and give a good account of themselves. I was encouraged by the performance they put up against Bengaluru FC even though we lost 2-0. We played with a lot of heart, matched the Champions all over the pitch and were unlucky not to score.”
“On Tuesday night, we need to step on to the pitch with that same belief. We did not have a good game against Sporting but we need to quickly put that behind us and focus all our energies on getting something out of this game,” he said.
during a training session