KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club takes aim at Gokulam Kerala FC in their Hero I-League championship round clash as they look to maintain their late found form.
The match is slated for a 4:05 PM kick-off at Kalyani Municipal Stadium and will be broadcast LIVE on 1 Sports with online streaming available on 1 Sports’ Facebook page.
Mohammedan heading into the match in good spirits after recording a 4-1 win over Churchill Brothers with a late double from Pedro Manzi earlier this week which has seen them move up to fourth place in the league standings with 20 points from 13 fixtures.
Even if mathematically Mohammedan are still within their rights to hold out hopes of a miraculous late surge to success, subconsciously they know this is now a near impossible task as only a strange and highly unlikely set of results would see them finishing among the top teams in the table. As a result, it will be only natural if there is not the same motivation to succeed tomorrow as there might have been in their previous matches.
However Mohammedan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty believes there is plenty to play for and strictly advised his players to concentrate on the task at hand, as they are keen to present a good account of themselves in remaining matches.
Coach Sankarlal said morale is high in camp, and they have a great work ethic and he is pleased with the players’ attitude and mental strength, adding that is something they have been discussing and working on lately.
“I am happy about my team’s performance. Players put up a brilliant performance in all the matches. The team morale is very high. We want to continue the good work in our remaining matches. The league is not over yet and we are taking the game very seriously. We have to give it our best shot as we always do,” coach Sankarlal said.
“We aim for a top three finish and it’s very much possible. To ensure this dream we must get maximum points from our remaining matches,” he added.
However the match will not be an easy one as Gokulam Kerala already lost twice against Mohammedan this season and will surely want to turn the tables around. The Malabarians are on the third spot in the table with 23 points, heading into the match knowing that anything less than a victory would send them out of the title picture. For that though, Gokulam will need to raise its game significantly, because Mohammedan is not going to be complacent about this game.
“Gokulam will go all out for a win and as such, we need to be on our toes. We have no right to be on flat foot. We need to be fully aware that we are playing against a team that has quality individuals,” coach Sankarlal explained.
“They play the high press game. They are very good on set pieces and we need to deal with that and look after the threat they pose us. We should be ready for a difficult game. I believe in my squad. No individual plan for anyone. Be it Philip Adjah, Emil Benny or Denny Antwi. For us, it is important to play as a team and to prepare against the Gokulam side. I think we have the confidence we need going into the game against Gokulam,” he added.
The addition of Pedro Manzi in February has been a welcome boost for Mohammedan. The hard-working Spanish forward has netted five times in six matches this season. Manzi has not been the only spark for Mohammedan. The contribution of midfield has also been key to Mohammedan’s upsurge in form of late.
However Mohammedan have a huge void to fill after Jamal Bhuyan’s abrupt departure. Jamal’s ability to stop the opponent and initiate their moves as well as leadership quality is something which will be sorely missed by Mohammedan.
Coach Sankarlal has admitted that Jamal’s exit is a major loss for his side but ensures that he has other players who should be able to do a fantastic job in this important match. The likes of Vanlalbiaa Chhangte, Azharuddin Mallick and Faisal Ali will be entrusted with providing the service to Manzi for the Spaniard to make his presence felt in front of goal.