Defending champions Mohun Bagan will be aiming to bury the disappointment of I-League slip-up when they meet Bengaluru FC in the final of the Federation Cup football tournament, here tomorrow.
The 14-time champions of the blue riband tourney – much more than any other Indian club side, will like reassert their supremacy and book an AFC Cup berth for the next season.
During the course of this season, Bagan have faced Bengaluru FC five times with their last meeting during AFC Cup Group league fixture resulting in 3-1 win in favour of green and maroon brigade.
Before that, they played out a 1-1 draw in a group league fixture of the Federation Cup.
While Bengaluru FC staved off a late challenge by Aizawl FC to win their semi-final bout by a solitary goal to nil, Mohun Bagan registered an easy 2-0 win over East Bengal to qualify for the final.
The threat for Bengaluru comes in the form of the Mariners’ attacking quadruple – Sony Norde, Katsumi Yusa, Balwant Singh and Darryl Duffy – all of which have been in scintillating form upfront, cajoling something out of nothing in the final third and all four have registered their names in the goal scoring tally.
In the official pre-final press conference, Alberto Roca was wary of Bagan’s attacking prowess and said:”They (Mohun Bagan) have a good attack and we have a good defence. It is important to have a good balance, but we have to be on our toes as they (Bagan) can punish us with the quality upfront.”
“Mohun Bagan are favourites to win the Federation Cup and they (Mohun Bagan) deserve to be in the final,” said Roca.
“For us (Bengaluru FC), it is important to be in the finals of the Hero Fed Cup and tomorrow we have another opportunity to win a trophy and we have to make the most out of it,” Roca added.
“I will be a very happy man if we win the final tomorrow,” he further added.
The Blues will be missing the services of talismanic skipper Sunil Chhetri, and midfielder Cameron Watson, who is suspended for tomorrow’s final.
However, Mohun Bagan’s Head Coach Sanjoy Sen did not beat around the bush and stated in the official pre-final press conference that,”Mohun Bagan will be looking for nothing less than winning the trophy.”
“We have prepared for it and now we are ready to give our best and win the Hero Fed Cup Trophy,” he added.
“They (Bengaluru FC) have also studied our players, so have we theirs. It is an advantage and a disadvantage of facing a known opponent and since Bengaluru FC are one of the strongest teams in India, it will be a very competitive final,” Sen said.
“We don’t have any injury concerns, all Players are fit and ready to perform,” quipped Sen, when inquired about injury concerns in the squad.
“It is exciting for everyone in the Bagan camp to be in the final and we are prepared for the final and the final is always special for the players. We have to give our best to win the trophy for our supporters,” said Mohun Bagan skipper Katsumi Yusa.