KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club will aim to bounce back to winning ways as they prepare for their next match in the Hero I-League championship round against Roundglass Punjab FC on Wednesday.
The match is slated for a 2 PM kick-off at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan and will be broadcast LIVE on 1 Sports with online streaming available on 1 Sports’ Facebook page.
The Black Panthers were put to the sword by TRAU FC in their Championship Round opener as the Manipuri side ran out 4-0 victors to hand Mohammedan their third defeat of the season.
“Looking back at the game against TRAU, we had started well but we were destabilized after conceding the first goal. Against TRAU we made some mistakes and we were not competitive enough to win, but we have to forget that now. We worked on our defects. Players have put the disappointment behind and fully focused on the upcoming game against Punjab,” said coach Sankarlal.
Despite his disappointment with the result coach Sankarlal remains confident that his team will bounce back from their poor performance.
“The last match is a thing of the past. We must think of the present. We will do our best to win. Looking at the team and their commitment at training, I am confident we will do well,” he added.
It’s a match coach Sankarlal will obviously be desperate to get a reaction from his men and the Black Panthers illustrated a team on a mission as coach Sankarlal took his charges through their pre-match training session. The spirit in the team signaled much intent and purpose ahead of a tough battle that’s anticipated against Punjab FC.
“It will not be an easy match against Punjab FC,” admitted coach Sankarlal. “They have competitive players and are a very strong opponent for us. We know that it is a tough outing for us but we have to win. It is always a motivation to play a strong team and we have to be very careful especially in defense because they have good attackers and we need to be concentrated on every detail of the game.”
When the two teams faced each other during Round 1 the match ended in a barren draw in January. However Punjab FC’s fortunes in I-League have completely changed since the arrival of Baba Diawara. A lot of focus will be paid to the forward line of Punjab FC which consists Joseba Beitia and Chencho Gyeltshen along with Baba Diawara, but coach Sankarlal is insistent that his team need only concern themselves with their own performance.
“We are preparing for Punjab FC and not for any particular player. We also have players of great quality. For every single match there is a lot of analysis done on our opponents, but I really think it’s more about how we play on the day that determines what result we’ll achieve,” he explained.
Midfielder Firoj Ali, who accompanied coach Sankarlal for the Pre Match Press Conference, said: “It never feels good when you lose a match like the one against TRAU. Nevertheless, there were positive aspects and we worked on the areas we had mistakes on. We must quickly forget the TRAU result and focus on Punjab FC. They are a strong team on the collective level and a very aggressive opponent but will do our best to get the three points.”
Mohammedan’s woes lie in their attacking unit. The Black Panthers have scored just nine goals this season, which is the lowest among the teams in the championship round. Looking ahead, coach Sankarlal knows playing Punjab FC will require a different approach, however he is confident in his squad’s ability to step up to the challenge. Coach Sankarlal will hope for a much better contribution from the players tasked with supporting Pedro Manzi in attack to give their team a chance to win the three points.
On the playing front, coach Sankarlal is happy to welcome back Eze Kingsley. The Nigerian defender is returning from suspension and would provide the Black Panthers stability at the back which they sorely lacked against TRAU.