I-League: Mohun Bagan gears up for Gokulam Kerala; Punjab welcomes Indian Arrows

Mohun Bagan will look to turn the tide against Gokulam Kerala at Kalyani, while Indian Arrows will play its first away match when it takes on Punjab FC.

Kolkata giant Mohun Bagan will look to turn the tide against Gokulam Kerala FC, a side it has not beaten in five previous encounters, when the two sides meet at the Kalyani stadium on Monday at 5 PM IST.

Gokulam has won both its two games so far and looks well organized. Bagan, on the other hand, redeemed itself with a 4-0 victory over debutant TRAU FC after failing to register a win in its first two matches.

Ugandan frontman Henry Kisekka and Trinidadian striker Marcus Joseph have been Gokulam's standout performers, having scored all of Gokulam’s three goals so far.

Gokulam coach Fernando Varela, however, refused to read much into his team’s recent form and also success against Bagan, whom it had beaten in the Durand Cup this year.

He said: “Mohun Bagan are a very competitive side with great players and with quality to make a combined game. We must be concentrating for 90 minutes to beat them and we will concentrate on our improvement as a team and how to play a good game. The League has just begun and we must continue to improve.”

For Mohun Bagan, this will be its final game before the Kolkata Derby against arch-rival Quess East Bengal. Bagan has shown signs of combining better as a team as the league has progressed -- it lost a high-scoring entertaining game against Goan side Churchill after having 71% of ball possession and then completely overwhelmed TRAU.

Head coach Kibu Vicuna brushed aside his side’s previous result against Gokulam in the Durand Cup saying:“It is a different game tomorrow. That match was very even and we didn’t take advantage of the chances we had at the end of the match. We know that we have a hard game to play but we are prepared to face it. Our objective is to see that we are able to play well in order to garner the full three points.”

Indian Arrows on the road

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Indian Arrows is now under a new coach in Shanmugam Venkatesh after Floyd Pinto was replaced.   -  AIFF Media

 

In the other I-League encounter on Monday, Punjab FC will be playing host to AIFF developmental side Indian Arrows at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana at 2 pm IST.

The match against the Arrows will be Punjab’s third consecutive match at home, while for the travelling youngsters, it will be their first match on the road this season.

Since losing to Churchill Brothers in its season opener, Punjab has drawn to East Bengal and then edged past defending champion Chennai City FC.

Head coach Yan Law, however, remains wary of the threat that the Arrows side possesses.“Arrows are a good side who have tremendous quality and potential. They have given both their oppositions, Gokulam and Aizawl a tough time in their first two fixtures," he said.

“This is a team to take very seriously and not underestimate. It’s going to be a tough game as they are quite a compact and structured team.”

Indian Arrows, on the other hand, has played twice at home and despite showing great valour and persistence, came up short against Gokulam Kerala and Aizawl.

Speaking ahead of the match, new coach Shanmugam Venkatesh said, “We know that Punjab FC won by a good margin against defending champions Chennai City in their last match and their confidence and motivation levels will be high, for sure.”

“It will be their third consecutive home match and for us, we are playing away for the first time this season. We have adapted well to conditions so far and the weather has been really good — ideal for playing football. We will give our best in the game.”

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