The Kolkata rivals will lock horns in a tie that is vital for their ambition...Relegation battlers Mohammedan Sporting will face an inspired East Bengal in a Kolkata derby on Saturday at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
The Black and Whites have had a horrible league campaign and are placed at the bottom of the table. Though their defense has performed relatively well in the league, it is their profligacy at the other end of the pitch that has harmed them the most. The team has scored a paltry 18 goals in their 20 matches and lack of an attacking partner for Josimar Da Silva has been their biggest concern.
"Our aim is to avoid a defeat at all costs. If needed, we'll defend with as many as 10 players," said coach Sanjoy Sen.However, all is not well in the Mohammedan camp as veteran Dipendu Biswas was involved in a spat with Rakesh Masih on the eve of the game while Josimar may find himself dropped due to disciplinary reasons.
Ajay Singh, who had scored a brace in the Durand Cup semi-final is fit once again and a young Wasim Raja may also get his share of I-League action. Raja's consistent performances for Peerless in the Calcutta Premier League have earned him a place in the Mohammedan squad.
Mohammedan have only 18 points from their 20 matches and if they return empty-handed from this fixture, stakes will be high on them being relegated.
Speaking of East Bengal, The Red and Gold brigade have a chance to capitalise of their victory over Sporting Clube de Goa last weekend.
James Moga continues to be absent due to an injury, while Naoba Singh is also a doubtful starter with Abhishek Das expected to start in his place.
"If we want to survive and stay in the hunt for the title, we have to win the game," said coach Armando Colaco.Mohammedan have never defeated East Bengal in the National League or the I-League as shares have been spoiled in the last two matches.
In 2014, the two teams have faced each other twice with East Bengal winning the first leg of the I-League 2-1 while the Calcutta League match ended in a draw.