I-League: Champions Mohun Bagan host Salgaocar

Mohun Bagan will look to continue their stride towards defending the I-League crown, as they take on Salgaocar at the Barasat Stadium on Saturday.

Sanjoy Sen, coach of Mohun Bagan, being carried by his players after wiining the 2014-15 I-League.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Mohun Bagan will look to continue their stride towards defending the I-League crown, as they take on Salgaocar at the Barasat Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday. Both teams have had contrasting openings to their league campaign. The Mariners secured a win against new boys Aizawl FC, while Salgaocar suffered a loss against Bengaluru FC in their backyard.

Salgaocar boss Malky Thomson will be hoping that the arrival of stars Calvin Mbarga and Martin Scott, who did not play against the Blues, would bring a change in fortune for the men in green.

“All my players have trained and I do not have any problems when it comes to injuries,” said the Scottish manager, ahead of the encounter against Mohun Bagan.

Last season's standout player, Jackichand Singh, will be deployed on the wings by the Goa-based team, while striker Manandeep Singh is expected to start against Mohun Bagan, alongside Daryl Duffy.

In spite of creating chances against Bengaluru FC in the opening encounter, The Greens were guilty of spurning most of them. On the flipside, Mohun Bagan turned in an uncharacteristically poor performance but ended up winning 3-1 thanks to the brilliant partnership of Balwant Singh and Cornell Glen up front.

Balwant picked up a muscle strain in the match but coach Sanjoy Sen was not too concerned: “If Balwant is uncomfortable, I will put in Jeje (Lalpekhlua) who is training with us and looks fit.”

Pronay Haldar, Brandon Fernandes, Luciano Sobrosa have joined the Kolkata-based team alongside Indian striker Jeje. Luciano, who impressed in the training match, will most likely be paired alongside the standout performer of the first match - Kingshuk Debnath.

Sen might also employ a conservative formation and deploy two defensive midfielders for the match. Souvik Chakraborty was alone in the role against Aizawl, but with Bikramjit Singh available, the coach might opt for more cover for his defenders.

Sen expects a strong contest but wants nothing other than a win for his team. “Hero I-League matches are difficult but we will go for three points as usual.”

Kick-off: 04:30 PM

Venue: Barasat Stadium, Kolkata