I-League: Chennai City FC vs Mohun Bagan Preview
Though the Mariners scraped their way to less convincing wins against Churchill Brothers and Shillong Lajong in the first two rounds, the addition of Sony Norde, and his performance in the third round encounter against Minerva Punjab FC has provided the much needed boost for the Green and Maroon Brigade as they are setting off on their journey of back-to-back I-League matches.
Chennai City FC, on the other hand, are still on a single point from three I-League matches, after they helped the DSK Shivajians to get the taste of winning after a year by conceding two goals. Had it not been for Karanjit Singh, the side from the Southern India would have lost every match they have played so far by a hefty margin.
The mood in the Mariners camp is upbeat after they got off to their best start in Hero I-League, as they are one of the only two teams to not concede a single goal in the season so far. And more than scoring goals, Chennai City FC coach, Robin Charles Raja is likely to concentrate on stopping the Mohun Bagan attacking third, comprising of Darryl Duffy, Katsumi Yusa and Sony Norde.
It is only the fourth game of the season, but it seems that Chennai City FC are already out of the title race. One of the major problems that needs to be addressed by the Chennai team management is the communication problem or language barrier between the coach and the players, which Raja has been quite open with in the last few addresses to the media. “We are into our third match only. We are getting better with every match going by. The strikers arrived just three days before the first game. We have other options also but we should score a goal . Coordination between midfield and attack is a problem. I’ve been working with them. There is a bit of language problem but they are improving. We are putting more focus on midfielders and strikers,” he added.
While emphasizing on the need to score their first goal of the season to gather some necessary momentum, Raja feels that his squad is improving well and can stage an upset against the mighty Mariners. “My team has very experienced players and some local players. They are getting better and learning from their experiences. Mohun Bagan have 9 points already but on the field, , it’s going to be 11 vs 11. So we have to think like that,” he insisted when questioned about his chances in the match.
On the other hand, the Bagan coach looked quietly confident of coming out with 3 points from the match, but he warned his team from getting complacent as the Mariners have always been given some tough time on the pitch by newcomers away from home, in the form of Royal Wahingdoh FC and Aizawl FC in the last two seasons.
He has called for improvement in passing from his team, before going on to add, “If we’re going to win, every match is important. We are not thinking about the last 3 matches. It is not going to be easy. We have to fight for every ball and we’re expecting nothing but a tight match . Every session we have to learn. There’s a lot of space to improve. Though we scored 4 goals in the last game, we’ve done things wrong and we will try and correct them.”
Mohun Bagan had to cover almost 1400 kilometers to reach Chennai from Kolkata and the Mariners had 2 practice sessions in Chennai before they go into the match . Chennai City FC will be playing at home, but the fatigue factor remains for them as well, given they featured against DSK Shivajians in an away game, on the same day Bagan squared off against Minerva Punjab FC. Chennai City may have the home advantage, but Mohun Bagan will definitely start the match on the front foot, given the form guide of both the teams.
The away team has no suspensions and a strong starting eleven is expected to be announced by Sanjoy Sen when the team list comes out. Chennai City may rotate their squad in order to try fresh legs in the attack and Karanjit Singh is expected to be back between the sticks for the Dravidians, but the participation of Afghan International, Haroon Amiri still looks doubtful.
Expected XI for Chennai City FC: Karanjit Singh (GK); Dharmaraj Ravanan (RB), Echezona Anyichie (CB), Joseph Clement (CB), Debabrata Roy (LB); Dhanpal Ganesh (RM), Prasanth Karutha Dathkhuni (RCM), Denson Devadas (LCM), Lalnunmawia (LM); Marcos Thank (FW), Charles (FW)
Expected XI for Mohun Bagan AC: Debjit Majumdar (GK); Pritam Kotal (RB), Anas Edathodika (RCB), Eduardo Ferreira (LCB), Subhasish Bose (LB); Katsumi Yusa (RM), Sehnaj Singh (RCM), Souvik Chakraborti (LCM), Sony Norde (LM); Jeje Lelpekhlua (FW), Darryl Duffy (FW)
We expect some sort of competition from Chennai City FC to avoid another one-sided game, but the fans of Mohun Bagan will definitely expect another one sided game in their favour. This is the only match in the round where the team that has not conceded any goals will face the team that has not scored any goals so far this season. The trio of Sony, Katsumi and Duffy is expected to give some tough time to the Chennai defence and if we have learnt anything from their match against Minerva Punjab FC, Duffy and Jeje have got the advantage over 50-50 balls inside the 18-yard box over their opposition and converted 3 chances in the last match.
FeverPitch.IN Match Predictor: Chennai City FC 0-3 Mohun Bagan AC
The match will kick-off at 7.05 PM IST at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai and will be aired live on Ten 2. You can also follow the live coverage of the match on our twitter handle @FP_Ind