Kolkata, Jan 26: A no-holds barred contest is on the cards in return derby when traditional rivals of Indian football - Quess East Bengal and Mohun Bagan Football Club face each in Hero I-League at Salt Lake Stadium here on Sunday.
The high voltage play is much more important for East Bengal to keep them in the contest for the championship, which has remained elusive since the National Football League (NFL) is renamed to Indian League or IL. Bagan have won the silverware in 2914-15 but EB have not touched it yet though several times they have becomes runners up.
As the league table stands now Chennai City are atop with 30 points from 13 games, followed by Churchill Brothers 28 points from 14 matches, new outfit Real Kashmir have 25 points from 13 play and East Bengal placed at 4th with 22 points from 12 games.
Mohun Bagan is placed at 6th with 21 points from 13 matches. A win can put East Bengal in a better place for contest or Mohun Bagan can improve their position for top four.
The present scenario suggests that both teams need to go for a win if they want to remain in the title hunt. After a sorry first half of the season, Mohun Bagan somewhat came back in to the race by registering back to back wins under new coach Khalid Jamil.
East Bengal, on the other hand, messed up their chances of winning the much elusive league after suffering a defeat at the hands of leaders Chennai City FC. But their hard-fought win against Indian Arrows has kept them in touch with the chasing pack.
Mohun Bagan missed Sony Norde’s presence on December 16 when East Bengal registered a 3-2 win over them. Mohun Bagan narrowly missed out taking away a point from their rivals, given that they missed Sony Norde’s individual brilliance on the pitch that night.
This time Khalid Jamil, who was unceremoniously send off from East Bengal in last season, says he was hoping on the Haitian midfielder " Sony Norde is my bet, " Jamil said in the pre-match media conference.
East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez acknowledged that the Green and Maroon are a difficult team to play against. He also mentioned that Chennai City could drop points given that they have some tough fixtures coming up.
“Mohun Bagan is a difficult match. We are focusing on the next match.
All the teams are difficult who are fighting for the title. But we are focusing only on our next match. We have to get full points to fight for the title. Many teams are fighting for the title. Chennai have a tough fixture. Teams will drop points and therefore we have to focus on ourselves,” said Menendez. (UNI)