This would be Mohun Bagan’s turn to bring the Federation Cup to Kolkata if the pattern of them and East Bengal winning it every alternate year since 2006 continues. Eyeing a perfect 10, having won all nine matches in charge with East Bengal, don’t blame Trevor James Morgan for wanting to break the routine.
When Mohun Bagan and East Bengal last met in the Federation Cup final, I.M. Vijayan was 12 years away from being a coach. Mohun Bagan won 2-1 at Yuba Bharati Krirangan. Being in the same half of the draw since 2006 they would usually meet in the semi-final. One such encounter, in 2008, cost Stanly Rozario his job as East Bengal coach.
“Let’s not get there. I’m not cluttering my mind with what happened two years ago. The boys are high having done well for 120 minutes against Dempo in the semi-final,” said Rozario, now in charge of Mohun Bagan.
Wide midfielder Gouranga Dutta is suspended and if injured skipper Ishfaq Ahmed can’t start, Rozario said Ashim Biswas and Jayanta Sen would be his options.
With a balanced roster given by the club in its election year, Trevor James Morgan has maintained East Bengal’s winning run through the Kolkata league and taken it to Cuttack. Penn Orji is integral to their attack but Mohun Bagan too boast a potent frontline comprising of Jose Barreto, Subair Murithala Ali and Edeh Chidi. With only Okolie Odafa to contend with, East Bengal’s defence didn’t look compact against Churchill Brothers. Mohun Bagan too have a backline that can ship goals but goalkeeper Shilton Paul has put an end to it for a while. Against Dempo, their midfield too was overrun. But they have an attack that can pummel opposition. Ask Salgaocar. And against Lajong FC and Dempo, Mohun Bagan showed character.
But still there is little to choose between these sides. Like always.
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