I-League: Indian Arrows hurdle for in-form Mohun Bagan

Bagan will look to continue its winning streak when it hosts Indian Arrows on Thursday.

Franz Gonzales (centre) was I-League's player of the month for December, 2019. Photo: Twitter (@Mohun_Bagan)

In-form Mohun Bagan will look to continue its winning streak when it hosts Indian Arrows in an I-League match here on Thursday.

With three wins on the trot, Mohun Bagan has turned its fortunes around after a subdued start to the season — it began with a draw at Aizawl before a 2-4 loss at home to Churchill Brothers.

The side has been reinvigorated by the presence of Fran Gonzales at the heart of its midfield, as the Spaniard leads the I-League goalscoring charts. His movement, both on and off the ball, has allowed compatriot Joseba Beitia to have more space going forward, to exhibit his flair, as was evident in the 2-0 win against Real Kashmir.

Speaking ahead of the match, Mohun Bagan head coach Kibu Vicuna said, “Fran is an important player for us. His role in the team is very essential. However, the most important player in the team is the team itself. Every player is important in my squad.”

'Competitive team'

Commenting on Indian Arrows, he said, “Arrows are a very competitive team. A young squad with hunger and talented players. If we want to get the three points, we will need to show more desire and fight.”

The Arrows, on the other hand, have enjoyed a decent spell going into 2020, when they shocked Churchill Brothers for their first win of the season in a thoroughly impressive display, which they followed up with a 1-1 draw against NEROCA.

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Indian Arrows head coach Shanmugam Venkatesh said, “The game of football is all about hard work and belief. What you have to understand is that most of these boys in this Arrows batch have only played at the junior level before. While they all are quality, playing against senior teams require an amount of experience. They have now started to grasp what it takes to play at the senior level, and the results have started to follow. They now have the belief that they can do it against the senior players as well. That is what has changed.”

On the side's opponents on Thursday, he added, “Mohun Bagan have always been a strong team in the I-League. I myself have had a strong connection with the club as well, from my playing days.

“Kibu [Vicuna] is doing a great job with the team, and they have played some good football recently. We have studied their game and made our plans accordingly. Let’s see how the game pans out.”

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