Mohun Bagan may start with all-Indian 11 vs Maziya S&RC in AFC Cup tie
Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen might field an all-Indian 11 against Maldives’ league champions Maziya S&RC in their AFC Cup match on Wednesday with an eye on Saturday’s away I-League match against Aizawl FC.football Updated: Apr 19, 2017 15:27 IST
Seeking their sixth win in 19 days and still being relevant in the AFC Cup and the 10th I-League means Mohun Bagan have managed fixture congestion rather well.
So, it would not be a surprise should coach Sanjoy Sen field an all-Indian 11 against Maldives’ league champions Maziya Sports and Recreation Club on Wednesday with an eye on Saturday’s crucial I-League match away to Aizawl FC who too are title contenders.
“When we got the fixtures, we knew what we had to do. The players met and said they want to do well both in the AFC Cup and the I-League. The number of matches and the travel did get worrying but we have managed,” said Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen here on Tuesday.
“We will rest some foreigners and Indians but the team that will play will also be strong,” said Sen.
Sen’s confidence in the depth of his squad is no empty talk: without five regulars, Mohun Bagan had come from behind to beat Dhaka Abahani 3-1 in an AFC Cup group E match here on April 4.
“Mohun Bagan have 30 players and I think at least 20 of them are of very good quality,” said Marjan Sekulovski, Maziya S & RC’s Macedonian coach. As coach of Yangon United, Sekulovski lost 2-3 to Mohun Bagan away and drew the home leg 1-1 in the 2016 AFC Cup.
Maziya S & RC are likely to field all four foreigners.They are: Kyrgyz Republic goalie Pavel Matiash, Montenegrin defender Milos Kovacevic, Serbian forward Aleksander Rakic and Romanian defender Andrei Cordos.
Not just the imports, Mohun Bagan may even rest a string of Indian regulars for Wednesday’s tie. Goalie Debjit Majumder, right-back Pritam Kotal, centre-back Anas Edathodika, left-back Raju Gaikwad may start on the bench, if at all.
That could mean a start list berth for Azharuddin Mallick, the young striker who scored a wonder goal against East Bengal in the I-League. He may be paired with either of Balwant Singh or Jeje Lalpekhlua.
Both teams go into the match on three points from two games, having notched up wins against Abahani and lost to group leaders Bengaluru FC. “Whoever loses tomorrow has virtually no chance,” said Maziya skipper and forward Abdulla Asadulla.
“This is an important match but there are many more to go,” said Sen, indicating where Mohun Bagan’s priorities lie this week.