KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club will cross swords with SAI East Zone in the second semifinal of inaugural U-13 Youth League at Barasat Stadium on Sunday (May 6, 2018), kick-off at 7:45 pm.
The home-based Mohammedan SC will be shouldering the hopes of millions of club faithful, however, in their way stand an SAI side looking as solid as can be.
Mohammedan SC, who had a tremendous run in the Kolkata zonal round by making it 10 wins out of 10, were pitted against Dempo SC and Shillong Lajong in Group B of Final Round.
The Kolkata outift showed their mettle in the first outing itself as the Young Panthers eased past Dempo 2-0 thanks to goals from Nabakumar Santra and Mohammed Zeedan. Though Mohammedan SC had to taste a sour defeat against Lajong in their final group game but made it to the last four thanks to a superior goal difference after all three teams finished with 3 points each.
Mohammedan SC will be expected to take more chances if they hope to have a chance at the finals especially with the tournament producing so many goals, 15 matches in the round-robin has already saw 59 goals scored. The team goes into the semifinals with the least number of goals – two compared to opponents SAI who have 11.
“This is the same team that has won the IFA Nursery League earlier this season and all the matches in Kolkata zonal round. We are very positive that we can surprise SAI and get a positive result,” said Mohammedan SC Coach Ananta Ghosh.
According to Ghosh his side will strike a balance between offensive and defensive play but will definitely take the game to the opposition and continue with the style and combinations that has served the side well so far.
“SAI is a good team and I think we need to improve our game as we have shown throughout the zonal round. I completely trust my players and hopefully they will again execute the game plan the coaching staff will set like they have done so well so far.” Ghosh added.
Though it may appear that Mohammedan SC have an excellent pedigree to go the distance, but they have to topple a SAI side that have grown stronger and stronger as the tournament has progressed.
SAI entered the semifinals as the best second-placed team beating Roots Football School 4-0 and Chennaiyin FC 6-0 after losing to Sudeva FC 1-2 in their first Group C fixture.
Skipper Mohammed Aziz Islam along with strikers Debajit Roy and Farman Ansari holds the key for SAI and expected to provide a stiff challenge for the Mohammedan SC back-line that had some troubled times against Lajong.
However, the SAI think tank might be worried of injury of one of their key player Albat Sangma, who limped out aginst Chennaiyin during their last group game, but they are confident that rest of the squad can fill the empty space if the winger fails to recover in time.