The Greens’ hopes rest on the result of Mumbai FC and Shillong Lajong earlier in the day…
Salgaocar FC and Mohun Bagan go head-to-head in their final group C fixture of the Federation Cup at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi.
The Goan outfit have to down the Mariners and hope that Khalid Jamil’s Mumbai FC draw or win against Shillong Lajong to allow Derrick Pereira’s team to qualify into the semi-final by virtue of a better head-to-head record against Bagan.
“Mohun Bagan is a good team. They got two good strikers in Odafa [Okolie] and Christopher [Chizoba].
“There are good possibilities of us going through, but it will be tough,” admitted Pereira.
It must be remembered that back in 2010, Karim Bencherifa’s Salgaocar faced Mohun Bagan in a final group D game with Shillong Lajong and Mumbai FC too in their cluster, like this season. The two teams were on four points each with Salgaocar only needing a draw to progress due to superior goal difference.
However a 6-1 thrashing was meted out by Bagan to the Goan side and the Mariners eased into the semi-final.
Salgaocar would hope that history doesn’t repeat itself and will look to give a good account of themselves.
On the other hand, Bagan are arguably the most in-form outfit in the tournament after their 6-0 drubbing of Shillong Lajong where the score-line could have been much worse for the north east side.
They only need a draw to progress. Odafa Okolie has showed glimpses of his return to full fitness and form with an excellent brace and Christipher Chizoba too seems to have found his bearings and leads the scoring charts with three to his name.
The biggest asset in their game is their defense as they are quick to close down opponents and do not give much space. It seems that the players have finally understood coach Karim Bencherifa’s tactics and application of the same is fetching them the desired results.
“We are going match by match. We are not thinking of the cup, we are not thinking of the semis, we are thinking of the next game and we should shift our focus to Salgaocar game next,” said a modest Bencherifa.
The Green and Maroon brigade will look to book their place in the semi-final in style and thereby send a strong message to other teams to take them seriously.
Expect a cracker of a game at Kochi this evening.
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