Football

I-League football | Mohun Bagan on the cusp of glory

Mohun Bagan players celebrate after scoring a goal. File

Mohun Bagan players celebrate after scoring a goal. File   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

Kolkata giant is a win away from regaining crown

For former champion Mohun Bagan, regaining the I-League title now is a mere formality. Having already created a new mark with a 13-match unbeaten run, Bagan needs just two points to secure the crown that it last won in 2015.

Currently on 36 points from 15 matches, Bagan can make its final season in the I-League memorable if it wins at home against Aizawl FC at Kalyani Stadium on Tuesday.

It will also mean that Bagan becomes the second team after Dempo FC (in 2009-2010) to ensure the title with four rounds to spare.

Bagan’s task became easier on Monday after traditional rival East Bengal got the better of Real Kashmir FC with an injury-time winner in Srinagar.

With most sides having five more rounds to play, the best any of Bagan’s challengers can now manage is 38 points. A win over Aizawl will thus be enough to make Bagan’s position at the top unassailable.

Bagan’s Spanish head coach, Kibu Vicuna, adopted a professional stance on the eve of the match that in all likelihood will bring a historic triumph to his side.

“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,” said Vicuna as he adopted a cautious approach especially after the hard-earned draw in the last match at home against holder Chennai City FC.

Key players suspended

Bagan’s earlier meeting with Aizawl — the opening round match at the latter’s home three months ago — ended goalless.

What made Vicuna even more circumspect was the fact that the host will be missing key defender Francisco Morante owing to suspension.

Despite lying ninth currently, Aizawl has done fairly well in its 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, while setting the tone for the upcoming action.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 7:26:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/i-league-football-mohun-bagan-on-the-cusp-of-glory/article31025623.ece

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