Mohun Bagan ready for Mohammedan Sporting test in Durand Cup opener

Revived after a two-year gap, the Durand Cup will see Kolkata heavyweight Mohun Bagan take on Mohammedan SC in the opening fixture.

Mohun Bagan will try to play attacking and pro-active football, claimed coach Kibu Vicuna.   -  I-League

Even as I-League and Indian Super League (ISL) are locked in a battle of supremacy, teams participating in both the leagues have got together to play the Durand Cup – which has been revived after a two-year gap to provide more competitive exposure to the players.

Notwithstanding the presence of 10 I-League and ISL teams, one cannot undermine that many of the sides are still in the build-up phase for the season and may give chance to the younger lot who play in the second division.

Two well-known city-based clubs – Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting – will lock horns in the opening tie of the event, which will run parallel to the Calcutta Football League (CFL).

Mohammedan is bubbling with confidence and fancies its chances against a stronger Bagan, studded with four Spaniards and coached by Spanish coach Kibu Vicuna, at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Friday.

Mohammedan captain Kamran Farooque said the side prepared well under the watchful eyes of Subrata Bhattacharya. “We have prepared well in the last two months. It does not matter whether we are playing a big team or a small team,” said Kamran in the pre-match press conference on Thursday.

Kamran said his side, comprising a good mix of youth and experience including four African players, had little knowledge about Bagan’s game. “We don’t know anything about the opposition. Even they don’t know anything about our game as no match has been played this season. We are ready for any combination or any challenge.”

Vicuna had some basic idea about Mohammedan. “We are not taking them lightly. I know they have an experienced coach.”

The Spaniard said his squad was on the path of improvement. “We have been training for the last one month. It’s a new team having a lot of new players. This process takes time and in two months time we will be better.”

According to Vicuna, Bagan will try to play attacking and pro-active football. “We will try to create chances and score as soon as possible,” he said.

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