The Kolkata Derby this week pits the wits of Abdul Aziz Moshood against Eelco Schatorrie as the latter's Purple Brigade will look to chart a course to the top of the league
Mohammedan Sporting and United Sports Club will face off in round six of the I-League in what is expected to be a thrilling Kolkata derby. The Purple Brigade lie fourth in the table on the threshold of the summit, with a string of impressive performances in their kitty, while Mohammedan in tenth will look to upgrade themselves to mid-table with another favourable result.
The Black and Whites arrive in particularly buoyant mood, after laying Rangdajied United to the sword winning three nil, thanks in large parts to Tolgay Ozbey who led his squad through a fine striking performance. Josimar Silva’s form is also encouraging, with him and Tolgay beginning to complement each other well.
Moshood, the Nigerian coach of Mohammedan, will be happy with the defensive resolve of his team particularly with goalkeeper Ashok Kumar, who made a string of key and fine saves to keep the clean sheet.
Mohammedan has signed five players from the IMG-Reliance's fold and a number of them will be injected straight into action only after two days of practice with the squad. However, Syed Rahim Nabi, the Indian international will be missing the match as he has not recovered yet from his hamstring injury.
Morale will be high too after the team launched themselves out of the relegation zone. They will now look to push on to get a respectable position in the table after their early season blip. Moshood in his post-match interview assessed, “We play in Kolkata against United Sports Club. That is our home game. We had three away games in a row - two losses and one win which is okay. So we'll look to capitalise on our win and try to do better."
Talking about the opponents, United Sports Club will have to fight their familiar worries like injury and unavailablity when walk down the tunnel. Mohammed Rafique is still unavilable for personal reasons while Lalkamal Bhowmick and Tapan Maity have not recovered from their injuries. Sangram Mukherjee has joined the practice only a day before the match, while the likes of Shouvik Chakraborty and Ishan Debnath will return only on the morning of the match-day, all because they had matches for their office teams.
Biswajit Biswas, the U-19 star, who scored a brilliant goal against Sporting Clube de Goa after coming on as a late substitute, is all set to get the nod ahead of Shouvik as the U-23 player in the starting line-up.
Though Hasan Al Moustafa has got the green signal from the coach, the fourth foreigner of the Purple Brigade will not be present in the match as his interntional transfer certificate hasn't arrived as yet.
Eelco Schattorie, the coach of the side seemed disappointed about the preparation. "The preparation has been very difficult. Five players' office job made it impossible to train on the tactical mistakes of the last game. Rafique again not present, Souvik comes on the day of the game, both of whom are U-23 players. This forces me to let U-18 Biswajit start in the line up and adjust the system as Vineeth and Biswajit both are strikers. I am very frustrated with preparation for this game," he told Goal.
The only good news for the cash-strapped side will be that their coach Eelco will return to the dugout again after serving a 2-match suspension.
The teams have already faced each other once this season, with Mohammedan winning that Kolkata League tie 3-2. This however, will be a different encounter altogether as United will use their all available weapons on the ocassion, something Eelco didn't do in that earlier.