I-League: Mohun Bagan aim to extend their lead at top of the table
Bagan are currently level on points with second-placed Bengaluru FC, but have played a match less than their title rivals
City heavyweights Mohun Bagan would look to consolidate their position at the top of the leaderboard and keep their unbeaten record intact this season when they host Goan giants Sporting Clube de Goa in an I-League contest at the Barasat stadium in Kolkata on Saturday.
The defending champions are presently perched atop the team ladder with 15 points from seven games whereas Sporting are at the fourth spot with 11 points from seven outings.
The visitors are coming into the encounter with a 3-2 win over Mumbai FC, where Okolie Odafa scored a brace. The Nigerian marksman will make a return to familiar territory as he had plied his trade for Bagan from 2011 to 2014. He will probably be the biggest threat that Sanjoy Sen and his men would have to deal with as he can split the defence open with his skills and pace.
After the win against Bengaluru FC, Mohun Bagan were held to a 1-1 stalemate by Shillong Lajong in the last match. It was Jeje Lalpekhlua who restored parity for the Defending champions in that game, but they were left to rue the opportunities that were squandered.
Saturday's game would provide the perfect platform for the Mariners to grab full points and put pressure on teams like Bengaluru and East Bengal who are hot on their heels.
With striker Cornell Glen being a little out-of-form for the past few matches, Sen would look to the likes of Jeje and Haitian midfielder Sony Norde for the goals.
The defence has been Bagan's weak link this season and have a tendency to concede goals in the second half. They need to be extra careful with Odafa around. Sporting midfielder Nicholas Fernandes too has netted a few this season and could be another danger that the Bagan rear guard have to deal with.
Although a point in their bag from an away game would do Sporting a world of good, managing the full three points would be a cheery on top of their cake.
The visitors are expected to try and sit back and wait till the likes of Odafa get a chance on the counter attack. But then again sitting back and trying to keep out the likes of Norde and Glen can be difficult.