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The Moroccan coach admitted that it isn’t easy to play against the Red Machines in the semi-final…

Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers SC square-off in the first semi-final of the Federation Cup on Thursday.

Karim Bencherifa, the Mariners coach, has backed his side to do well against his former side who would have an extra day’s rest.

“I think it's going to be a good game, because both teams are fit and both teams are enthusiastic. Churchill was always a difficult team to play and it will be no different in the next game.

“Churchill have a slight advantage because they have day extra rest. It's very difficult to play in this weather, but I believe in our mental ability and in our spirit that will hopefully lead us into the final,” he observed.

Mohun Bagan’s last trophy was back in the 2008-09 season when they won the Federation Cup in Bencherifa’s first stint at the club.

“I believe in the [Bagan] players. They want to qualify for the final and to bring back the cup although we should not talk about the cup yet. We have to do our job in the semi-final first and I have full trust that the boys will go all out to win the game.”

Along with Dempo SC, Bagan have had the meanest defense in the tournament so far with their citadel being breached just once in the final group C game against Salgaocar FC.

“I wish it had stayed 1-0 because the boys deserved a clean sheet for the way they defended. We were off-guard by that one chance, one shot. Besides that, we were brilliant and very organised. The boys did work very hard.

“We knew that a draw was enough and we just didn't want to concede. So mentally, the players could go forward as much as I wanted, but the most important thing was to qualify for the semi-final.”

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