AFC Cup Qualifier Mohun Bagan vs Colombo FC Preview : The Mariners Have The Edge Over The Yellow Submarines
Mohun Bagan will be locking horns with Sri Lankan outfit, Colombo FC at the 2nd leg of the AFC Cup preliminary round qualifying encounter at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on Tuesday (7th February).
Previous Games: Mohun Bagan edged out Colombo FC 2-1 in the 1st leg of the qualifiers in Sri Lanka, courtesy of goals from Sehnaj Singh and Kean Lewis.
The visitors have a herculean task at hand as they will battle it out to overturn the deficit.
Traveling and preparations: Colombo FC landed in Kolkata on 5th February without their three foreign players Nasiru Opayemi, Afis Olayemi Olofin and Momas Yapo, who were denied visa by the by the High Commission of India in Colombo. In an unexpected turn of events, The Indian High Commission in Colombo granted visas to all three of the foreigners on Monday evening, much to the delight of the visiting side. All the three foreign players are expected to join the squad on Tuesday morning.
Colombo FC are also facing some difficulty in adjusting to the climatic conditions of Kolkata which is relatively colder than that of Colombo. Some of the travelling players have been under the weather but in all likelihood, they should be fine for the game.
The Sri Lankan side got a feel of the Rabindra Sarobar turf as they had a full practice session there today evening.
Bagan, on the other hand, practiced at their home ground today morning.
Team Morale: The morale in the visiting camp is bound to get a sudden boost as their visa debacle is finally over and the foreign players are expected to arrive hours before the game.
Mohun Bagan are coming at the back of a thrilling win against Aizawl FC in their last I-League match on 4th February and are oozing with confidence.
Manager’s quotes: Colombo FC manager, Mohamed Roomy acknowledged the fact that there is no alternative option for them other than to play attacking football.
"We came to know the standard of Mohun Bagan when we played them in the last match. But we had given a good fight. It is a must-win situation for us now and I hope to play a more attacking brand of football," he said.
Even after labeling them as potential underdogs, Roomy was optimistic about his team's chances. "We are confident and well prepared. We have just three professional players in our rank but we have to manage with them," he added.
Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen refused to take their opposition lightly and asserted that Bagan will be fielding a strong squad. "We will be playing our best possible eleven. We want to forget the fact that we have a 1 goal cushion. We will play for an outright win here," he quipped.
Injury: Injuries to some key players at the heart of the defence remain a headache for Bagan gaffer Sanjoy Sen. Bagan will be missing as many as five first-team players owing to injury, three of them being defenders.
Eduardo Ferreira, Kinshuk Debnath, Raju Gaikwad, Kean Lewis and Balwant Singh make the long injury list for Bagan.
Colombo FC, on the other hand, have no major injury concern. Their skipper Rawme Mohideen recovered from an injury, which saw him miss the first leg of the tie, and will likely feature tomorrow.
2-0 win for Mohun Bagan.
Picture courtesy: ThePapare.com