I-League Qualifiers: Mohammedan Sporting faces ARA, Bengaluru United and Garhwal look for first points

Mohammedan Sporting will look to continue its perfect start to the I-League Qualifiers campaign when it faces ARA FC, while Bengaluru United and Garhwal FC will aim to earn their first points.

Mohammedan Sporting

Mohammedan Sporting will aim to address its finishing woes when it takes on ARA FC in the I-League Qualifiers on Sunday.   -  AIFF MEDIA

Mohammedan Sporting will look to secure its second win on the trot when it takes on ARA FC at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.

Mohammedan earned a 1-0 win over Garhwal FC in its opening I-League Qualifiers clash, while ARA FC will be playing its first game of the tournament.

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Yan Law, Mohammedan's head coach, rued his side's finishing woes in its last game. His side had multiple chances but struggled to convert.

“It is unfortunate that we missed so many chances in the last game. We even hit the woodwork twice. It just wasn’t our day. Perhaps it was down to a lack of concentration in the final third, but we have been working on it during our training sessions,” said Law.

“We have also had a few review sessions on what needs to be done for the next match. The boys are all charged up again. They are eager to pick up the three points again,” he continued.

Meanwhile ARA FC coach Vivek Nagul said his side was eager to return to competitive football. “The boys are playing really well. When you are going to play a match for the first time in such a long time, the mood in the camp is bound to be good,” said Nagul.

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He said his side was prepared to carry its form from last season, when it topped its zonal group. “We had a very good performance in the Second Division League last season, and the spirits are high as the boys want to carry that form into this season. Mohammedan are a strong side, but we believe that we can perform on the given day and take the points,” he said.

- FC Bengaluru United, Garhwal FC look to bounce back after initial defeats -

FC Bengaluru United and Garhwal FC will be looking to earn their first points of the I-League Qualifiers when they clash at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium in Sunday's late kick-off.

Bengaluru head coach Richard Hood said he expected a tough contest.

“We have maintained right from the start that there are no favourites or underdogs in this tournament and Garhwal proved us right. They are a very well-drilled unit that has everyone on the pitch playing out a very clear game plan,” said Hood.

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“We both have our backs against the wall and there is no way out but to fight it out for three points,” said Hood. “I doubt the pace or temperament of the game will be cautious or careful from either team. It will boil down to who takes their chances better,” he added.

FC Bengaluru United

FC Bengaluru United dominated possession but was unable to find the back of the net in its game against Bhawanipore FC.   -  AIFF MEDIA

 

Garhwal's coach Vikas Rawat praised Bengaluru United's resilience in its 2-0 loss to Bhawanipore FC.

“Bengaluru are a strong team. We have obviously read them and seen what they are capable of. I really appreciate the efforts put in by them in the first match, though the result may not have been enough for them,” said Rawat.

He added, “I don’t know whether they will have the same strategy or not but we are ready to face them. We believe in scoring. You don’t win by defending. We have to put the ball in the opponents’ goal, but at the same time, we also have to defend properly as it is an important aspect of football,” he added.

Garhwal FC

Garhwal FC put up a resilient show in its narrow 1-0 loss to Mohammedan Sporting in its opening clash.   -  AIFF MEDIA

 

Bengaluru United had a lion's share of possession in its opening clash but was unable to find the back of the net. Hood says the side is keen to make amends.

“It is not enough to say that we played with an attractive brand of attacking football. At this level, and more so in the play-offs, any brand of football has to be effective. Dominating possession was always a part of the plan and so was finding back of the net – our spirits and confidence rest on building awareness and belief of what must continue to happen and mistakes we don’t intend to repeat again,” he said.

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Despite a narrow 1-0 loss in its opening game against Mohammedan, Rawat said his side's was not low on morale.

“It was a difficult game. But it was not a heartbreak for us. We are much more motivated after the loss. We are definitely going to bounce back harder, and that is the mentality of the side,” Rawat said.

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