| (Picture left) Mohun Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya with Brazilians Roberto Beto (left) and Eduardo Coelho during practice at the Mohun Bagan ground. Mohammedan Sporting coach Mridul Banerjee with his wards at their home ground on Wednesday. Pictures by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: Four more matches, four more victories. That's Mohun Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya's aim now, as he prepares for their Super Six match against Mohammedan Sporting in the CFL Super Division League on Thursday.
The green-and-maroon outfit had defeated Mohammedan Sporting 3-0 in the first phase of the league. But, tomorrow is another day, felt Bhattacharya. And going by Wednesday's training, he is leaving nothing to chance.
The coach plans to go in with a three-pronged attack to create panic in the Mohammedan defence. Brazilian recruit Roberto Beto is likely to have his first feel of Indian soccer on Thursday. He will have Sunil Chhetri as his partner upfront, while Abhay Kumar will be moving up from the midfield to lend support to the striking duo.
It has been three years since Mohun Bagan last won the Super League and the coach is well aware of the fact. 'We will be taking one match at a time,' Bhattacharya said when pointed out that he is just four matches away from the title. 'I am not thinking of anything but a win,' he added.
'I have to keep the players focused and that is why I am going for the residential camp (four days) in Kalyani.'
The coach has high hopes on Beto, but said not much should be expected from the Brazilian in his first match.
The Brazilian scored twice for the first XI in a 3-0 victory over the Bagan reserves. There were shooting drills as well as set-piece movements as the players went through their paces for nearly one-and-a-half hours.
In the 3-4-4 formation, Dulal Biswas may play sweeper to thwart any Sporting move. In front of him will be Brazilian Eduardo Coelho and Mehraj-uddin Wadao. The half line is likely to be manned by Basudeb Mondal, Tomba Singh, Dharamjit Singh and Rishi Kapoor. TFA-lad Subrata Paul will don the keeper's gloves.
Eduardo said that the team needs to win the match and they will go all out. Later, acting as Beto's interpreter, Eduardo informed that the Brazilian striker will look to score goals and try to settle down as quickly as possible.
Bagan, though, will be missing the services of Noel Wilson and Palash Karmakar due to illness and injury, while Mehtab Hussain has to sit out with a double booking. Noel though, hopes to be available from the next match.
Even as Bagan players were training hard, Mohammedan Sporting coach Mridul Banerjee is eyeing an upset. 'We have nothing to lose. Mohun Bagan are a good team, but we will hope for an upset,' the coach quipped after the day's practice.
'Moreover, we would like to finish the league on a better note,' Banerjee said, his thoughts echoed by striker Raman Vijayan.
Mohammedan Sporting are currently on 23 points, eight behind leaders Mohun Bagan. However, the coach hinted that they will be a bit cautious at the onset and then move on the attack. For that he is likely to load his half line to counter the opposition and provide passes upfront.
Mohun Bagan: Subrata Paul, Dulal Biswas, Eduardo Coelho, Mehraj-uddin Wadao, Tomba Singh, Basudeb Mondal, Dharamjit Singh, Rishpi Kapoor, Abhay Kumar, Roberto beto, Sunil Chhetri.
Mohammedan Sporting: Gopal Das, Henry Chukwukei, Stanley Festus, Siddarth Thapa, Naushad Musa, Temjen Kibang, Aga Abdul Wahid, Jiten Rai, Raman Vijayan, Habib Ali.