Mohun Bagan will seek a revival of fortunes under new coach Shankarlal Chakraborty when they face reigning champions Aizawl FC in an I-League fixture at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.
Having kicked off their campaign in style that included a 1-0 win over bitter foes East Bengal in the Kolkata derby, Mohun Bagan’s title aspiration has dwindled as they slipped to fifth place in the table after seven matches.
Mohun Bagan last won against Churchill Brothers on December 10 and dropped points for three consecutive matches before suffering their first-ever home defeat.
The Mariners succumbed to a 1-2 defeat to a 10-man Chennai City FC, their first defeat of the season that came at their home ground, and moments later their 2014-15 I-League
winning coach Sanjoy Sen stepped down.
Sen’s understudy, Chakraborty, was elevated to the chief coach’s position and his first priority would be to help the players regain self-confidence.
“Keeping in mind Mohun Bagan’s support base, when the team suffers back-to-back setbacks, more than technical you need to bring back the self-confidence of the players. And
that’s my priority at this point of time,” Chakraborty said after taking over.
The key to success will be the recovery of linchpin, Sony Norde, who missed Bagan’s last two matches and consulted Dr Anant Joshi for his torn meniscus in right leg.
Their defence will be bolstered by a fit-again Arijit Bagui. Both the teams are on 10 points but Mohun Bagan are just ahead of Aizawl FC on goal difference.
The northeast outfit is on a two-match winning run including the last one at Gokulam Kerala and they are expected to pose a big challenge to the hosts.
The champions look to have shaken off a rusty start to the season with two wins on the trot.
Paulo Meneses will no doubt see this game as an opportunity to get three vital points and continue their climb up the table.