After winning the Calcutta Football League, Mohun Bagan is all determined to rewrite their name as India's best football club. Shankarlal Chakraborty is now under his first full season in charge and, he is already putting in some commendable effort.
The green and maroon brigade are second in the league table, 5 points behind the toppers, Chennai City FC. Bagan started their campaign with back to back draws, but gain the momentum in last two away matches, winning both against Arrows and Real Kashmir.
The Kolkata giants will, however, face a difficult task when they host Churchill Brothers on Sunday evening at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan. East Bengal-reject Willis Plaza is in a great run of form. The Trinidad and Tobago forward netted a hat-trick in their recently concluded fixture against Shillong Lajong.
The two-time I-League champions are yet to face a defeat just like their opponents. However, the Goan side has collected two points less than Mohun Bagan. But one can assure that Sunday's clash is going to be a blockbuster one as Churchill has always been a bogey side for the century-old club.
Let's look at how Bagan will line up against Churchill Brothers.
Team's captain, Shilton Paul, has pulled a groin injury and, is likely to miss the upcoming match. The experienced custodian's absence will be a huge loss. Young Shankar Roy will start under the bars and, he will have a huge responsibility of keeping Plaza shut ahead of a jam-packed stadium.
Shankarlal Chakraborty hasn't yet found his best central back pairing. Kimkima started for Bagan in the first three matches, while Dalraj got his first start against Real Kashmir. Unless there is a last minute change, the latter is going to start alongside the Nigerian in the heart of the deep defence. Arijit Bagui and Abhishek Ambekar will complete the back four.
Sourav Das will pair up with Yuta Kinowaki in midfield. Bagan will miss the services of Egyptian playmaker, Omar El Husseiny. But there is something to cheer for Bagan fans as their talisman, Sony Norde, is all set to start for the first time after recovering from a year-long injury. The Haitian winger can seal the day on his own. William Lalunfela might get his first start as well as the young sensation, Pintu Mahata, will also miss the game due to an injury.
Bagan will miss creativity in midfield due to the absence of Omar. But with a frontline of Dicka and Henry, they can easily scrape their path to glory. Despite not being in his best form, Dipanda Dicka has found the back of the net thrice in the last two games. Henry Kisekka is also enjoying a patchy spell. But we can expect that Chakraborty will not exclude him from the lineup as he is creating some scoring opportunities.
Here is the possible lineup: (4-4-2) Shankar; Arijit, Kingsley, Dalraj, Ambekar; Sourav, Yuta, William, Sony; Henry, Dicka