NEW DELHI: Kolkata giants McDowell Mohun Bagan host chart toppers Pune FC in a Hero I-League Round 5 clash at the Salt Lake stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Mohun Bagan did well to thump Mumbai FC 3-0 in their opening encounter of the tournament and then salvaged a point in an away fixture against Salgaocar. The Green and Maroons have created a lot of chances in both the clashes and will try to be more prolific upfront.
Pierre Boya, the marquee foreigner of the team, who has not played a single minute of I-League football owing to an injury, started taking part in the practice sessions a few days ago, but will not play a part in the Pune FC game.
“Every match is a new challenge. We have to keep winning if we have to be the champions. Boya and Anwar are out of equation for tomorrow’s match. The team has played the last two matches without them, so it should not be a problem,” Sanjoy Sen was quoted saying.
However, Dhanachandra Singh, who also spent a long time on the sidelines is now fit to be part of the action and may feature on the bench for the hosts.
The Sanjoy Sen coached side will be depending heavily upon the duo of Yusa Katsumi and Sony Norde to put the Pune defense under pressure, while Bello Rasaq will be handed the primary responsibility to keep the Pune attacks at bay.
Talking about the Red Lizards, the Pune outfit are on a three match winning streak and will like to extend it further when gaffer Karim Bencherifa meets his old team tomorrow.
Pune FC have scored 12 goals in their four matches till now, which is more than double of any other team’s scoring record. Thongkhosiem Haokip scored a first half hat-trick against Shillong Lajong and will pair up with marquee player Darko Nikac in the Bagan box, while the likes of Edgar Marcelino and Ryuji Suoeka will play the roles of providers.
“There is a long way to go and I am not getting carried away. For the first time after 2008-09, Mohun Bagan have assembled a formidable and balanced squad. I hope we get a good match on Saturday and the fans deserve that,” Bencherifa was quoted saying.
Both the teams have emerged victorious on a couple of occasions in their last 5 I-League encounters while the other match ended in a goalless draw. The teams have faced each other twice this season in the King’s Cup and the Federation Cup with both the matches ending as draws in regulation time.
KO: 4:30 pm IST