The home team will look to pounce and make it a fantastic start with two wins in a row, while the Black and Whites aim to avoid two defeats in a row
Mohammedan Sporting and Salgaocar FC meet at a time when the league table shows contrasting fate for these two teams. Salgaocar beat reigning I-League champions Churchill Brothers in Goa while Mohammedan slumped to an embarrassing opening day defeat at the hands of Pune FC, losing by three goals to one. Both these teams will look to prove a point when they meet, not just to each other but to the rest of the pack too.
Salgaocar FC, having played one match so far, find themselves in ninth place. Yet a strong showing will have buoyed their confidence in their run up to the match against a stuttering Mohammedan.
A popular opinion drifted through the Salgaocar circles was their proficiency in front of goal or rather a lack of it. They will look to set records straight when they do so. Clifton Dias will look to build on the excellent platform he has built himself so far.
Derrick Pereira, coach of the Goan outfit, acknowledged the task at hand as they prepared to meet a team looking to resurrect themselves after an opening day mauling. “They (Mohammedan Sporting) are one of the stronger teams in the I-League having made a couple of very good signings before the season,” he said.
“We will be looking for a tough fight. Our players are combining well. [Darryl] Duffy had a slight strain and Claude [Gnakpa] had a knock on his ankle, but they will be available for the match. The break helped us in the recuperation process.”
Being naturally conservative on players who are on trial to replace injured Japanese midfielder Saiji Saito, who has hence been released by the club, Pereira opined, “We will have a good look at them and decide after the two matches. We also play Dempo on the 9th [of October]. So we'll take a call after that match.”
Whilst the Green and Whites' records and objectives seem pretty straight forward, Mohammedan Sporting have had a slight blip that has left them at the bottom of the table after week two, albeit, after playing a solitary game.
The blip is surprising as they faced Pune FC a week after securing the Durand Cup. Possibly fatigue and the sheer impact of missing influential playmaker Penn Orji had their respective effects, but the club faithful will look to hold Nigerian coach Abdul Aziz Mohsood responsible.
Sandeep Sangha, an influential defender in Sporting’s spine has issued a rallying cry to his troops while dispelling all fears surrounding the club. He said, “Injuries are common to football and we players are ready to fight. This is our first away match and all I expect is a win."
Though Tolgay Ozbey, the Black Panthers' number one striker, is said to be suffering from an eye infection, Sandeep elucidated, "No injuries in the traveling squad. We all are fit and ready to give our best in the match."
Gaining confidence from an encounter of this magnitude will be key priority and both teams will look to hit the hammer on the anvil as soon as possible. Orji’s possible return will boost Sporting but Salgaocar at home will go all out with a sustained effect and wrap up a second win.
Mohammedan will look at this match as a drop of medication to end their woes at the bottom of the table. Therefore, it is all but logical if we expect an absolutely frantic, frenzied and feverishly enticing match.
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