Defending I-League champions Mohun Bagan know that the only thing preventing them from holding on to the title is their focus, and the Kolkata giants are expected to be aware of that. The Mariners take on DSK Shivajians in their penultimate I-League 2016 game Saturday at the Barasat Stadium in West Bengal.
The Kolkata side haven't won any of their last three games in the league this season and with the business end of the I-League here, it only gets more worrying for Sanjoy Sen. The good news for Mohun Bagan, meanwhile, is that the I-League winning coach will be back in the sidelines for them after completion of his four-match suspension.
Haitian hotshot Sony Norde could also play a part in the game for Mohun Bagan, as comfirmed by Sen ahead of the match. The likes of Katsumi Yusa, Cornell Glen and Jeje Lalpekhlua are also fit to participate. The bright signs are back for Bagan but they also need to be aware that Shivajians come into the game with a great record.
The Pune-based outfit, newcomers of the I-League this season, haven't lost any of their previous six league fixtures, which include wins against East Bengal and Sporting Clube de Goa. They also came from behind to hold title contenders Bengaluru FC to a 1-1 draw in the midweek.
"I think DSK are one of the strongest teams in the Hero I-League. Look at their current form, they are unbeaten in their last six matches. And if you look at their performance, they were brilliant against Kingfisher East Bengal and actually deserved to win against Bengaluru FC in their last match," Sen told the official I-League website.
The presence of experienced Indian customers Subrata Paul, Sandesh Jhingan and Baljit Sahni has definitely gave the side the boost going ahead in their season. The experience of head coach Derrick Pereira, previously in Pune FC and Salgaocar, has also made the DSK Shivajians a force to reckon with in the I-League.
"I always want to finish on top but I am taking it game by game. No set target but I want my team to play the Federation Cup," Pereira told Goal ahead of the match. "We have a full strength squad. The players are in good shape and we will approach the match the same way we have approached the previous games," added the former Salgaocar FC coach.
Previous encounter this season: DSK Shivajians 0-2 Mohun Bagan
Where to watch live
I-League: Mohun Bagan vs DSK Shivajians is scheduled to kick-off at 7:05 p.m. IST (1:35 p.m. GMT), April 9.
Viewers in India and the rest of the subcontinent can catch the game on Ten 2 (Ten Action).
Online streaming will be available on tensports.com.
Live scores of the match can be found on the I-League twitter handle.