Mohun Bagan take on Churchill Brothers in the Airtel I-League at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Friday. The teams clashed in the Federation Cup semi-final last month and there are contrasting moods in the two squads since that meeting, which Churchill Brothers won 2-1.
While Mohun Bagan are lacking confidence after an early exit from the IFA Shield and defeat to Salgaocar in their last I-League game on Sunday, Churchill Brothers are the in-form team as they are unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions and a win will move them within one point of the Kolkata club with a game in hand.
The Goan outfit showed great defensive organisation to earn a goalless draw against East Bengal on Tuesday and now will be confident of securing maximum points from this match to go five clear of rock-bottom Rangdajied United.
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The Mariners need to a win to stay away from the relegation battle but they will once again be without club captain Odafa Okolie. The green-and-maroon brigade have failed to score in their last three matches in all competitions and coach Karim Bencherifa will be hoping for a change of fortunes in front of goal.
“Even though results haven’t gone our way recently, we have played some good football so hopefully with a bit of luck we will get the right result in this game,” the Moroccan coach was quoted as saying.
Mohun Bagan will take heart from the fact that before the defeat to Churchill Brothers in the Federation Cup they had lost just once in 11 matches stretching over three different competitions and even recorded a morale-boosting win over arch-rivals East Bengal in the Calcutta Football League.
Churchill Brothers though would look to make the most of the home team’s poor recent form and continue their revival since the Federation Cup with the presence of technical director Subhash Bhowmick adding a spring in their step.