Karim Bencherifa's side will look to build on the two wins in the last couple of games when they face Dempo..The second of the I-League's round eight fixtures on Friday sees Mohun Bagan travel south to Goa looking to take on Dempo SC at the Fatorda stadium in Goa. There is all too play for, with both sides languishing in mid-table and only two points seperating the duo.
The Mariners go into the game lying seventh in the league having registered back-to-back wins against Mumbai FC and Salgaocar FC which has seen them climb out of the drop zone. Karim Bencherifa will be hoping his side can continue their impressive form away against Dempo who themselves have had a tough start to the season.
“Let me remind you that we are a very young side. We had four under-23 players in the last match. This time too, we will have a handful of young boys on the bench and in the first eleven,” elucidated Karim Bencherifa showcasing his tactics.
His revelation is timed to the news that Katsumi Yusa and Eric Muranda will face late fitness tests to reveal if they can be included in the matchday squad after suffering from food poisoning and injury repectively. Pritam Kotal is expected to be guarding the right after an impressive display against Mumbai FC.
“It’s a tough situation against a tough opponent but my boys are well prepared for the challenge and we are hopeful of a win against Dempo and that will boost the team’s morale further," he said.
Also Bagan have finally added to their squad strength after signing four of Pailan Arrows' youngsters on loan. Sankar Oraon will be out of action as he serveses a one-match suspension sentence on account of his red card against Mumbai FC. Talisman striker Okolie Odafa is still recovering and as Bencherifa has explicitly stated all along, no pressure will be mounted on him to return fast and hence he's expected to sit this game out as well.
Arthur Papas will be hoping his side can bounce back from the 3-1 defeat to Bengaluru FC in their last fixture. The Goan side have had made a poor start to their new season winning just once in their six games so far, losing twice.
The Australian presently has a couple of selection issues due to illness and also confirmed that Mahesh Gawli along with his new recruits from Arrows will not be availaible for the match due to lack of fitness.
"Mohun Bagan will be full of confidence coming off two wins in a row but at the same time this has them placed only two points above us. "We (Dempo) will need to be aggressive from the first minute as I expect them to try and play a high pressure game. This league has already shown that any team is beatable on any given day and we will need to be at our best to gain the three points" said a confident Arthur Papas.
Brazilian Roberto Mendes De Silva is expected to lead the midfield with Jeje Lalpekhua and Billy Mehmet also receiveng the nod to start.
They will also look to improve on their home form this season having lost the only game they have played at the Fatorda stadium. Bagan on the other hand do not boast an impressive away record having won just once in their four away games this season.
A win for Mohun Bagan could see them rise to as high as fourth in the league whereas a Dempo win could see them move ahead of Mohun Bagan in the I-League standings.
So with all to play for, it's but natural that we expect fireworks to dazzle.
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