Can Mohun Bagan become the only team from West Bengal to reach the knockout stage of the Federation Cup 2016? We will get the answer to this on Thursday as the 2015 I-League champions go head-to-head with Salgaocar FC in their second leg match of the competition at Barasat Stadium.
After Aizawl FC shocked defending Federation Cup champions Bengaluru FC on Tuesday, another Northeast outfit, Shillong Lajong, dumped East Bengal out of the competition on Wednesday. Lajong won the two-legged match 3-4 on aggregate as their second leg game at the Barasat Stadium went on to extra time.
Mohun Bagan have a 3-2 lead over Salgaocar from their first leg game at Tilak Maidan in Goa on Monday. Although the Mariners came back strong after the late winning goal from Jeje Lalpekhlua, the Kolkata outfit will know that their lead is only slender. Also, Salgaocar cannot be taken for granted though they are playing an away game.
"Our first objective will be to not concede and then obviously we will look to win the game. We have always managed to score goals, that has never been the problem," said Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen via an AIFF press release, ahead of the game. "Salgaocar are a goal behind and that means they will be all the more hungry to come back. So we have to be at our best," he added.
The worrying thing for Bagan is neither star winger Sony Norde nor forward Cornell Glen are totally fit, thus there is a major doubt over their participation in the match.
For Salgaocar, it's all about continuing the good form against Bagan when it comes to scoring goals. "We scored two against them the last time here [in the I-League], we scored two in Goa as well," Salgaocar coach Mario Soares told Goal.
"Like I said, we just have to tighten up defensively. In the three matches we have played against them this season, we have scored five times. So we are capable of scoring two goals against them."
Northeast's Aizawl FC and Shillong Lajong have already made it to the semis of Federation Cup 2016 and it now needs to be seen whether Salgaocar can join Sporting Clube de Goa in the final four as well, thus making it an all-Goa and all-Northeast affair in the semis of the tournament.
Where to watch live
The second leg match of the competition between Mohun Bagan and Salgaocar FC is scheduled for 7 p.m. IST on May 5.
There will be no broadcast of the match in India. However, online streaming will be available on the official I-League website.
The live scores can be found on the official AIFF twitter handle.