I-League: In-form Mohun Bagan braces up for stern test from Churchill Brothers

The teams, unbeaten in the league so far, will face off at the Yubabharati Krirangan in Kolkata.

Gearing up: Mohun Bagan trains in Kolkata on Saturday. Photo: AIFF

Two in-form teams in Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers lock horns in an I-League clash at the Yubabharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday.

With two wins in a row, Bagan has moved up to second in the points table. Like Bagan, Churchill is unbeaten in the tourney so far, positioned fifth in the table after four matches. The strikers of both teams have started to fire, but against a quality opposition on Sunday, it remains to be seen whether they make way for a battle of attrition.

‘Concerned about everything’

A return from injury by Sony Norde would boost Bagan’s midfield. But Sankarlal Chakraborty, the team’s coach, admitted Norde’s participation wasn’t certain. He said, “Sony is fit but the medical staff will take the final call whether he is ready to play 90 minutes.”

Will he, won't he: A final call on Sony Norde's participation will be taken by the medical staff. Photo: AIFF

 

Looking ahead to the contest, he said, “We are concerned about everything including [Churchill’s foreign players] who can turn the fate of the match single-handedly on their day.” Referring to his team’s 1-0 win over Real Kashmir earlier this week, he said, “Our last win has been a good [morale-booster] for us. We have to make it a habit to keep on winning.”

‘Great team with great tradition’

Churchill will be buoyed by the hat-trick scored by Willis Plaza in its previous contest against Shillong Lajong. His combination with Gambian Dawda Ceesay is potentially lethal when on song. The team will have to be wary of Bagan’s combination of Dipanda Dika and Henry Kisekka.

Coach Petra Gigiu paid tribute to the rich history of Bagan. He said, “I am happy to be in Kolkata. We played four games but the real exam begins now. Mohun Bagan is a great team with great tradition. The club is special for the spectators and the heritage. Yes, we watched a few matches of Mohun Bagan on television. They are strong in every department. It's not going to be an easy game at all. We’ll try to play a good game. Results will follow then.”

Bagan holds the advantage in terms of head-to-head between the sides, having won eight matches; Churchill has won five. Bagan has won five of the last six matches between them.

The contest begins at 5 pm.