Calcutta: Tolgay Ozebe feels the turn out at the Salt Lake Stadium to watch Mohammedan Sporting’s first practice match against Tata Football Academy has put the players under pressure.
Around 2,500 spectators, including Syed Rahim Nabi, turned up on Monday as Mohammedan Sporting recorded a 3-0 win over the Academy boys. Tolgay opened his account for Mohammedan Sporting, netting a brace, while Joshimar got one.
“We never expected such a turn-out for a practice match. It puts us under pressure. We knew we have to give full effort since the crowd will want us to win this match. We have a very strong squad this season and the expectations are really high,” Tolgay said after the match.
The crowd cheered every attack of their favourite club and there was applause whenever a TFA attack was negated. And all the three goals were celebrated with a staccato of firecrackers. “Great mood,” club president Sultan Ahmed said.
Tolgay said the combination between him and Penn Orji will once again work wonders. “During our days at East Bengal, Penn and I combined well. Here also, we are expecting something like that.
“Today, Joshimar played extremely well laying-off beautifully and that allowed me and Penn to roam in the free space. Jerry Zirsangha also worked well as the attacking midfielder.
“To be honest, I am happy with the way the team played. This is our first practice match and we need to build from this,” the Australian said.
Coach Abdul Aziz Moshood though said the loose ends need to be tied up. “There are loose ends. But I am happy with the way the team played. We will move forward from here on. It’s a pre-season match.
“So I wanted to play with a team which is not that strong. As the season progresses, we will be a cracking outfit. The players are responding to my system. That’s a very positive thing,” he said.
Mohammedan Sporting next play New Bani Sangha at the Basirhat Stadium, on Wednesday.