Bencherifa will hope his side registers an away victory in order to establish some gap from the bottom of the table…
Rangdajied United are in their best form this season having won back-to-back matches against United SC and Bengaluru FC respectively.
They have 18 points from as many games and have a total of six matches to save themselves from going down in their debut season of the I-League. They only have three matches at home and apart from Bagan, the only other side from the bottom half of the table they are set to face are Mohammedan Sporting in an away fixture.
The appointment of Hering Shangpliang, the addition of Ranti Martins, Steven Dias and TP Rehnesh has certainly improved the fortunes of the team.
The north eastern brigade have scored 21 goals which is the joint-seventh highest in the league though they have the worst defensive record alongside Shillong Lajong with 29 goals conceded.
“The match on Saturday will be like a final game for us. It may turn out to be a deciding factor of our future. Hence we urge supporters to come and cheer us during the game,” said assistant coach Khlain Syiemlieh.
The good news for the home side is the return of Tomba Singh back to full fitness and is expected to be handed a start while Abocha Singh has been ruled out due to an injury.
For Mohun Bagan, it couldn’t have been a worse time to face Rangdajied who are in resurgence. They were defeated 2-0 when the two sides last met in the I-League back in December.
Add to this the fact that the Mariners have only registered one victory outside Kolkata which came in October, a 1-0 victory over Mumbai FC. Also the last goal they have scored outside Kolkata in the I-League was at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Lajong.
They are coming into the game on the back of two draws and a defeat in their last three outings. Shilton Paul, Ram Malik and Aiborlang Khaongjee will be missing the tie due to injury concerns.
“The Rangdajied we played in the first leg and the Rangdajied now are a different team,” said coach Karim Bencherifa who is aware of the importance of this tie.
It will be an interesting clash in round 21 of the I-League with both teams hoping to win in save themselves from relegation.
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