I-League: Keen contest on cards as Mohun Bagan plots revenge against East Bengal

Football is dividing the city once again in two warring factions as the local giants – Mohun Bagan and East Bengal – renew their derby clash for the third time in the season, in an I-League fixture on Sunday.

It will be a big challenge for Khalid Jamil.   -  AIFF Media

Football is dividing the city once again in two warring factions as the local giants – Mohun Bagan and East Bengal – renew their derby clash for the third time in the season, in an I-League fixture here at the Salt lake Stadium on Sunday.

The recent results put East Bengal slightly ahead this season as the red-and-gold brigade drew the first meeting 2-2 (in the Calcutta Football League) before it beat Mohun Bagan 3-2 in the next clash, which happened in the first phase of the ongoing I-League.

The derby clash never lacks in excitement and the tempo this time is generated around Mohun Bagan plotting a revenge of its defeat in the first phase. The two factors that are egging up the Mohun Bagan supporters are the arrival of a new coach in Khalid Jamil and the return of its talented play-maker Sony Norde.

Jamil, who replaced Sankarlal Chakraborty as the gaffer barely two matches ago, has lent the winning touch seeing Mohun Bagan winning both its matches since he took over. Bagan is on 21 points from 13 matches.

The recent results put East Bengal slightly ahead this season.   -  AIFF MEDIA

 

The test against East Bengal will be different and the previous results hardly matter in this clash of nerves. “What happened last year (the last match against East Bengal on December 16, 2018) is past. We are thinking about the upcoming match. We have to give our best and hope for a positive result,” Jamil opted to be cautious like any other coach.

“I am trying to inspire the boys to think positive and concentrate till the last minute of the action,” Jamil added ahead of one the biggest tests of his current assignment. Incidentally, Jamil does not have a good record as a coach in the Derby as he lost both the meetings in the I-League when he coached East Bengal last season.

For East Bengal’s Spanish coach Alejandro Menendez, a win is necessary to keep the team in the hunt for the title. East Bengal currently has 22 points from 12 outings and a positive result will see the team jostling with Real Kashmir in the third position in the current standings.

East Bengal’s strength lies in the attacking trio of Jamie Colado, Enrique Esqueda and Jobby Justin and they will be testing Bagan’s defence once again. “In games like these, small details matter. I think that we have already played a lot of matches and will be able to play the right game to secure another win,” Menendez said.

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