Mohun Bagan will be desperate to earn their first win of this I-League season when they face debutants TRAU FC of Manipur at the Kalyani Municipality Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.
The heavyweights have logged just one point from two games so far while TRAU went down by a solitary goal to defending champions Chennai City FC in their I-League opener, which was also their debut match.
Mohun Bagan went down 2-4 to Churchill Brothers of Goa in their last match.
The pressure was clearly evident in Mohun Bagan’s Spanish coach Kibu Vicuna’s pre-match comments.
“After the last match, the team wants to play to get three points. We had 71% ball possession, 27 shots, 10 on target against Churchill but we conceded so much defensively,” he said. “We need to improve and be more efficient in both 18 yards box. We respect the opponent, a new team with good players and a new coach and we need to play a complete match to succeed.”
For debutants TRAU, it will be their second straight game on the road and having to play their first two matches against the defending champions and former champions Mohun Bagan means they have certainly had a baptism by fire in the tournament.
It might, in fact, turn out to be a positive for them at the end of a long league but for that, they will have to pull up their socks if evidence from their first game is anything to go by.
Their Brazilian Technical Director Douglas Silva was realistic in his comments ahead of the game.
“All the matches of the I-League will be difficult for us because we are new and our teams are young but they are confident enough to face everyone. It is a great opportunity to play in the I-League and not because we are playing against any particular team. We look at all teams the same way,” he said.
The Kalyani pitch has been dishing out good games and much will depend on how Mohun Bagan’s Spanish midfielders and wingers can control the game from the outset. Improving on execution of their game plan will be important for the home team to come away victors.
The visitors will hope that Gurpreet continues to be rock-solid under the goal and their African striking duo of Nigeria’s Princewell Emeka and Ghana’s Abednego Tetteh deliver for them.