Mohun Bagan looking for first win
The Federation Cup champions who drew goalless against HAL and lost 2-0 to JCT wiil be playing Mahindra United next, reports Gordon D'Costa.Updated: Jan 13, 2007 20:46 IST
Despite being unable to register a win in the opening two matches and also failing to find the target, Mohun Bagan, are not too much concerned. Their Brazilian coach Robson Mattos and the players seemed quite relaxed as they went through a light training session on the eve of their third round match against defending champions Mahindra United in the ONGC 11 th National Football League at the Cooperage ground on Saturday.
The Federation Cup champions drew goalless against Hindustan Aeronautical Limited and lost 2-0 to JCT. But on Sunday they are keen to put an improved display and overcome the Mumbai Red Devils to turn their fortunes around.
To achieve their objective they plan to cut out on the mistakes and coach Mattos is praying that their twin strike force of Brazilian Jose Ramirez Barretto and Baichung Bhutia find their scoring touch and convert the chances which would enable them to snatch their maiden win. Both Bhutia and Barretto missed a series of chances in the previous two matches which cost them dear.
The Kolkata outfit, are also looking to plug the holes in the defence and keep a close watch on the Mahindra strikers Ghanaians Yusif Yakubu and Andrews Mensah and deny them the liberty to combine freely inside their territory.
Mahindra United are not ready to take things easy and have prepared well for this big match. Their coach Derrick Pereira has some other ideas for the visitors. He is set to try out some different strategies and look for a win to earn full points.
Boasting of several internationals in their ranks, the Mumbai outfit, are likely to make a couple of changes to the side which drew 1-1 with Churchill Brothers on Thursday and will also strengthen their defence to keep Baretto and Bhutia under control.
Mahindras strong point has been their midfield, marshaled by the hard-working S Venkatesh, James Singh, Sushant Mathew and Steven Dias and Pereira is confident that they will dominate the midfield and not provide much time and space for the rival attackers to launch attacks on their goal.
Pereira informed Hindustan Times that K Ajayan, who got injured in the last match, is unlikely to play. But he said that if he finds him fit he would utilize him in the midfield. N S Manju will take Ajayan's place in the defence.
"The boys are playing well, but I hope they capitalise on the chances," said Pereira. "The defence and midfield are combining well and the strikers have shown good form. I'm confident that they will deliver tomorrow."
Mattos felt that his boys have been burnt out since they had a tough last month. "Last month was very tough for us and I'm not disappointed with the results of the first two matches," said Mattos. "We played some hard matches in the Federation Cup and the players are tried, fatigued."
"There was not much time for the boys to rest and I'm not going to tax the players and put pressure on them as I want them to peak slowly."
"But I have a strong gut feeling that they will do well on Sunday and we will look for a win," he said.
First Published: Jan 13, 2007 20:46 IST