Mohun Bagan look favourites to lift the Federation Cup 2016 title in every way against Aizawl FC on Saturday in Guwahati, but football, as we know, has always been an enigma. The North-East side, in their debut campaign in the Federation Cup, knocked out defending champions Bengaluru FC previously, and Bagan have to be wary of that.
The Mariners may be the most successful team ever in the history of the Fed Cup, but in a final, even Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen admits that even minnows cannot just be underestimated. If you do that, you have lost the game already.
"You need to look back at Aizawl FC's performance against Bengaluru FC in the Federation Cup 2016. You also need to look back at their performance against us in the I-League when they defeated us and halted our unbeaten run. Hence, it will be foolish to brand Mohun Bagan as the favourites," Sen told the official AIFF website. "Anyone can beat anybody on a particular day. Aizawl FC will be a tough clash and if want to win, we have to deliver.
"Given that we have won the Federation Cup a maximum number of times, the final match is massive for us as a club. We won the I-League after 13 long years and we want to present the fans with the Federation Cup 2016 trophy. It will be a good way to end the season with a trophy in our hands," added Sen.
Aizawl FC defeated Bagan 2-1 in March this year in an I-League game in Mizoram. Whether they are able to repeat that feat and create another milestone or not remains to be seen today. As for Aizawl FC coach Jahar Das, staying positive remains the key.
"We have defeated Mohun Bagan before and we can defeat them again. We are all united for the cause and we are all hoping that the result sways in our favour," Das told in another AIFF report.
"We will be playing as if it will be the last day on Earth. Obviously we have to be at our best against Mohun Bagan. But when you play such big matches you need that bit of luck," he added. "I only hope that lady luck stays on our side."
It remains to be seen whether Aizawl FC striker Joel Sunday features in the match, since the Nigerian has been booked twice in the competition and that calls for a suspension. However, the AIFF have reportedly not sent any letter to the club as yet asking them to bar Sunday from taking part in the match, according to Goal.
Where to watch live
Federation Cup 2016 final: Mohun Bagan vs Aizawl FC is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. IST on May 21.
In India and the rest of the subcontinent, the match will be broadcast on Ten 2. Online streaming will also be available on the official I-League website.
The live scores can be found on the official AIFF twitter handle.