| EKEH: Set to return
Margao: Having so far maintained an unbeaten run against Goa teams on Goan soil, defending champions Mohun Bagan are keen to collect full points against Dempo in Friday’s National Football League 15th-round match at Nehru Stadium.
After a series of inconsistent performances, Dempo, fourth in the table with 21 points from 14 matches, put up a gutsy performance against East Bengal in their previous match. They came from to draw from 0-2 down and that must have raised their morale. Mohun Bagan are second with 25 points.
Coach Armando Colaco is hoping that his boys play in the same vein and beat Mohun Bagan to erase the bitter memory of their 1-5 loss suffered in Calcutta.
Mohun Bagan will gain from the return of George Ekeh, who missed the last match against Salgaocar due to suspension. This is certain to stand Mohun Bagan in good stead, considering the Nigerian has already scored ten goals in the League including two hattricks.
Alongside the inspirational Bhaichung Bhutia and ace Brazilian Jose Ramirez Barreto, Ekeh forms a fearsome trident. Dempo have to keep them in check in order to collect something from this match.
The Dempo midfield, which has been their main strength with Jose Colaco and Mario Soares combining well, hold an edge over their rivals. But a lot will depend on the striking prowess of their Sri Lankan striker E.B. Channa, who will have to utilise the half chances that come his way.
Mohun Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya, looking confident after the 1-0 win in the last match against Salgaocar, said his team is confident of snatching three points.
“The return of Ekeh will add strength in the striking department and I am confident that our team will collect full points, although I don’t want to underestimate our opponents who have played well against East Bengal.”
Dempo coach Colaco doesn’t want to take this match as a grudge affair but said his team will play a positive game. “A win against Mohun Bagan will erase memories of our biggest loss,” he said.