mohun bagan
Mohun Bagan held East Bengal to a 1-1 draw in the first I-League Kolkata Derby of 2016Aditi Saha

It is the first ever big test for Sanjoy Sen with Mohun Bagan in a continental competition. The Kolkata powerhouses, who won the I-League last year, open their AFC Champions League qualifiers campaign against Singapore outfit Tampines Rovers on Wednesday.

The Salt Lake Stadium in the City of Joy, which remained the venue for the high-intensity Kolkata Derby between Bagan and East Bengal just days back, is set to be the destination once again.

The match will be played over two legs and it is the first of three qualifying rounds for the 2016 AFC Champions League. None of the Indian clubs, be it Pune FC or Bengaluru FC, has been able to make it past the play-off stage of the hard-fought Asian continental competition.

But if Bagan manages to do the impossible, they are on the verge of history. At least, that is what Sanjoy Sen is looking forward to.

"Yes, Pune FC and Bengaluru FC had lost in AFC Champions League play-off [in the previous years]. So yes, if we qualify [to the group stages] this could be a milestone," the Mohun Bagan coach was quoted by Goal ahead of the game.

"I was focusing first on the I-League but now my target is to win all tournaments we take part in. At the end of the day, we have to look back and see how much we have given on the field.

"When we started the season, I told my boys that this is a challenge to play in the Asian Champions League (ACL) since this is the first time we are playing in it. So we need to uphold the name of our club in the ACL," Sen continued.

"As a coach too, I want to do well since this is my first continental tournament," he added.

The biggest name in the Tampines Rovers roster is former Liverpool star Jermaine Pennant. However, the former FA Community Shield winner was not registered in time as a player of the club to be a part of the competition.

However, having said that, the away side today cannot be written off by any means. The Stags are five times S-League winners and are one of the biggest clubs in the Singapore. "Tampines (Rovers) has a lot of naturalised Singapore citizens," Sen mentioned.

"For example, their captain [Fahrudin Mustafić] is actually Serbian and so we need to be guarded playing against them no matter how many foreigners we have or they have. From the onset, we won't attack and we will gauge our opposition before we attack," he commented.

Where to watch live

Mohun Bagan vs Tampines Rovers is scheduled to kick-off at 7 pm IST (1:30 pm GMT, 8:30 am EST) on Wednesday, 27 January.

In India, viewers can catch the game on 24 Ghanta. Online streaming will be available on 24Ghanta Live TV (bengali commentary).

Other countries can catch up with the live scores on FlashScore.

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