AFC Cup: Upbeat Mohun Bagan faces Abahani Limited

Mohun Bagan meets Abahani Limited from across the border in an AFC Cup match at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on Tuesday.

Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen asserted that his team would go for full three points.   -  K. Murali Kumar

The mood in Mohun Bagan camp is upbeat after its comprehensive 3-0 win over Bengaluru FC in an I-League home encounter on Saturday night. Now, Bagan wants to carry forward the momentum when it meets Abahani Limited from across the border in an AFC Cup Group E match at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium here on Tuesday.

Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen asserted that his team would go for three points. He had a word of caution though.

“The opposition is new and we have no idea about them. We will be watchful in the first 15-20 minutes,” said Sen on Monday.

Sen revealed that since Bagan would be playing two matches within a short period, he would make a few changes.

“Anas Edathodika may not start tomorrow. Pritam Kotal will not be there.”

The Bagan coach exuded confidence over the performance of the youngsters, especially forward Azharuddin Mallick — who replaced the seasoned Jeje Lalpekhlua against Bengaluru.

“Azhar replaced someone you could not even make out,” Sen quipped.

Sen, meanwhile, made it clear that Bagan would not take the AFC Cup tie lightly.

“We are not preparing for the (Kolkata) derby (against East Bengal at Siliguri on April 9). A lot of time is left for that.”

Sony Norde, who has set up many goals for Bagan this season, has the experience of playing in Dhaka. Sen said he would sit down with the Haitian to gather information about the rival players.

Since Bagan and Abahani have lost their group openers to Bengaluru and Maziya (of Maldives) respectively, the result of this tie will be crucial for their future in the group.

Abahani’s Croatian coach Drago Mamic, who joined the Dhaka-based side two months ago, conceded that unlike his team, Bagan had the advantage of playing more than 15 matches, including 13 in the I-League.

“That is one problem. I have suggested that the calendar (in Bangladesh) must be changed to match the AFC calendar.”

Mamic, who coached Churchill Brothers in 2010-11 and had seen Bagan as an opposition, said: “We cannot live in history, we must live in the present.”

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