Mohun Bagan a win away from historic I-league triumph

A win at the Kalyani Municipal Corporation Stadium against former champion on Tuesday will hand Mohun Bagan its second I-League title.

Mohun Bagan is currently on a record-breaking 13-game unbeaten run.   -  RAJEEV BHATT

For Mohun Bagan, regaining the I-League title now remains a mere formality. With the 13-game unbeaten record, the team now needs just two points to secure the crown that it had last won in 2015. Currently on 36 points from 15 matches, Bagan can make its final I-League season memorable if it wins its home outing against Aizawl FC at the Kalyani Stadium on Tuesday. The win will also mean that Bagan becomes the second team in the history of the tournament, after Dempo FC (in 2009-2010), to wrap up the title with four rounds to spare.

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Mohun Bagan’s task became easier on Monday after its traditional rival East Bengal got the better of Real Kashmir FC with an injury-time winner in Srinagar. With most of the sides having five rounds to play, the best any of Bagan’s challengers can now manage is 38 points. A win against Aizawl will thus be enough to make Mohun Bagan’s position at the top unassailable.

Bagan’s Spanish head coach, Kibu Vicuna, adopted a professional stance on the eve of the match. “Aizawl is playing well and is a difficult side to beat. We need to bring out our best if we want to get the result that we are looking for,” he said.

His team was cautious in its approach in the hard-earned (1-1) draw in the last match at home against holder Chennai City FC. Bagan’s earlier meeting with Aizawl, which happened to be the first round of the season at the latter’s home, ended in a goalless affair. What made Vicuna even more circumspect was the fact that the host will be missing its key defender Francisco Morante owing to suspension.

Despite lying in the ninth spot currently, Aizawl has done fairly well in the last five outings securing eight points, most of which came from ‘away’ engagements. “The pressure is on them (Bagan) now as they drew their last match with Chennai City. My players are ready to take them on and are looking forward for a positive result. In football, everything is possible,” said the seasoned Aizawl FC coach, Stanley Rozario.

The match is scheduled to kick-off at 5 pm, will be broadcast live on 1Sports and streamed online on the FanCode App and 1Sports Facebook page.

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