KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club coach Sankarlal Chakraborty believes the Black Panthers have the character to hold their own against Real Kashmir FC in a must-win Hero I-League encounter on Sunday afternoon.
The match is slated for a 2 PM kick-off at the iconic Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan and will be broadcast LIVE on 1 Sports with online streaming available on 1 Sports’ Facebook page.
While Churchill Brothers (19 pts), Real Kashmir (17 pts), Gokulam Kerala (16 pts) and Roundglass Punjab FC (15 pts) already confirmed their place in the top six; TRAU FC (13 pts), Mohammedan (13 pts) and Aizawl FC (12 pts) will be fighting it out for the two remaining spots. Mohammedan currently ranked sixth, owing to an inferior head-to-head record with TRAU.
It is pretty simple for Mohammedan — win (16 pts) against Real Kashmir and seal a Group A spot. If Gokulam loses to Churchill the following day, Mohammedan would end up fourth as well.
However, if Mohammedan draw or lose against Real Kashmir, Aizawl will then need to drop points against Chennai City FC later in the day.
Should Mohammedan lose and Aizawl manage to get a draw, then it becomes a direct head-to-head between two teams, in which case, Aizawl would make it merry as they boast a better head to head record over Mohammedan.
“It will be a tough match. Real Kashmir is one of the strongest teams in this league if not the strongest,” claimed coach Sankarlal.
“The game against Real Kashmir is a determining factor to our future in the league and we are aware of what is expected of us. I always tell the players to focus on the match but not on the league table. We prefer to go match by match and it will be the same against them (Real Kashmir). We are not focusing on any individual player but we will do our best. For us it’s about working hard and staying focused and our target is the maximum points,” he continued.
Coach Sankarlal has downplayed suggestions that the Black Panthers will be out to seek revenge against Real Kashmir. The Snow Leopards beat Mohammedan 4-0 in the IFA Shield semifinal in December, yet he insists that the Black Panthers have gotten over that disappointment and does not want to look at what happened in the past.
“There is no sense of revenge. They won in IFA Shield and we can do nothing about that. That chapter is closed. This is a new game. We are not motivated by grudges but are inspired by a desire to improve and do better,” coach Sankarlal concluded.