AFC Cup: Mohun Bagan faces 'unknown' Colombo FC

Kolkata giant Mohun Bagan will be without its two foreigners — Sony Norde and Eduardo Ferreira — who will be rested because of injuries.

Mohun Bagan will be without the services of Haitian forward Sony Norde for the match against Colombo FC.   -  AIFF Media

Mohun Bagan will be the firm favourite, despite missing two of its star players, when it lock horns with debutant Colombo FC of Sri Lanka in the AFC Cup preliminary stage match here on Tuesday.

Kolkata giant Mohun Bagan will be without its two foreigners — Sony Norde and Eduardo Ferreira — who will be rested because of injuries.

The South Zone preliminary first leg matches get underway tomorrow.

Mohun Bagan qualified for the 2017 AFC Cup after it lifted the Federation Cup for a record 14th time in 2016 with a 5-0 trouncing of Aizawl in the final.

The Kolkata club, which was founded in 1889, reached the last 16 of the AFC Cup last year but lost 2-1 after extra-time to Singapore’s Tampines Rovers.

Colombo FC is the first Sri Lankan club to take part in the AFC Cup playoffs after it pipped Renown Sports Club on goal difference to win the Sri Lanka Football Premier League for the first time in 2015.

Despite the pedigree of his team, Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen is well aware that it doesn’t have enough information about its opponent.

“We are facing an opponent which is unknown to us and we will have to start on a positive note for tomorrow’s game. We just need to follow the basics and concentrate on our game and display good football to achieve three points,” Sen said on the eve of the match.

“Playing against a team on their home soil will be difficult, they will come all out to perform better and show their skill in an elite tournament like AFC Cup,” he added.

Goalkeeper Shilton Paul said, “We should respect the opponent and need to play our natural game. Playing against a side for the first time is always a challenge as you do not know what to expect. We are eager to perform and wish to take all three points from this match.”

Norde’s absence is not going to help the Indian side as the Haitian forward has been instrumental in Mohun Bagan’s success so far, though Sen would like to believe that he has a strong all-round team.

Mohun Bagan is currently in the second spot in I-League after five matches, while Colombo FC is the reigning Sri Lanka Premier League champion.

Founded in 2008, the Sri Lankan capital-based club has quickly risen to continental football from the Island nation.



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