With both the sides facing the possibility of relegation, this encounter is a do or die game for both the sides.....
Nirmal, Iche, Aibor, Snehasish;
Manish, Denson, Masih, Jewel;
Jhingan, Farid, Jaiswal, Das;
Landa, Sardar, Zenith, Lugun;
A mid week fixture in the Salt Lake Stadium will witness the two bottom placed teams of the league table vying for success. While Mohun Bagan still has 0 points from 11 games after their points were docked by the Indian FA, the newly promoted Sikkim side has been paying for their dismal performance throughout the season, having only 10 points from 16 outings.
This has turned out to be a hard season for the Mariners as they faced point deduction as a punishment to their decision of not fielding the team in the second half of the Kolkata derby. Though the team has returned to the league in the last weekend, the absence of their star striker Odafa Okolie has been the cause of concern for the side.
Their performance in the last match was not impressive as they suffered a 0-2 loss at the hands of Salgaocar FC. Odafa has been the only consistent performer this season, scoring almost at will. However, the defensive worries could not be solved even this season, as the backline has looked porous in almost every match.
Now with Odafa being unavailable and Stanley Okorigwe not fully fit, Syed Rahim Nabi may play as the second striker.
This will be another test for Tolgay Ozbey, who had joined the side from their arch rivals East Bengal at the start of the season and has been mostly sidelined since then due to nagging injury problem. With the team’s leading goal scorer being out of action, this will be a good stage for the Aussie striker to gain his form after the long break and also prove his mettle before the supporters.
This is also supposed to be one of the easiest encounters for the Mariners as the opponent team has struggled from the beginning of the season due to the lack of balance in their squad.
United Sikkim made headlines for their excellent performance in the second division of the I-League last year. Their performance in the top tier though has been miserable. The squad was mostly selected by Philippe de Ridder, who had been sacked as the coach of team after they conceded 10 goals against Prayag United. Their new coach Australian Nathan Hall has however expressed his grievance publicly about the lack of talented players in the squad.
A cash crunch in their first season has also been a major reason as to why they couldn't attract top talent. They are largely dependent on the likes of Nadong Bhutia and Nurudeen Salau for scoring goals. The Snow Lions' defense has been nightmarish, conceding near about 2.5 goals in average this season. It will be a hard task for the youngest coach in I-League history to sort out these problems.
A win in this match is a must from both the sides’ perspectives as it will boost their mission of saving relegation. This may ensure that some good attacking football will be up on the platter as the Kolkata giants make their comeback in the city after an exact 45 day break.
Mohun Bagan: Mohun Bagan's captain Odafa Okolie will not be available, as he serves his suspension. Their team for the last match is going to remain unchanged except for the fact that Stanley is unlikely to start. Nabi will take his place in the striking line, while Snehasish Chakrabarty will slot in as a left back.
United Sikkim: There is not much options available for Nathan Hall. However, it can be expected he will try to shuffle his cards given their disappointing performance.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- United Sikkim has conceded the highest number of goals in this edition of I-League (37).
- Mohun Bagan will have started from 0 points in 10 games as per the decision of the All India Football Federation (AIFF). Having lost their last game, they now have 0 points in 11 games.
- If Mohun Bagan's points wouldn't have deducted they would have been above United Sikkim as they would have a tally of 12 points from 11 games as compared to United Sikkim's 10 points from 16 games
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