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Bagan wary of Md. Sp. speed

Calcutta: For Subhas Bhowmick, the Mohun Bagan versus Mohammedan Sporting CFL Championship Round tie, at the Salt Lake Stadium, on Sunday should not be referred to as a Derby. “A Derby means one particular game between two teams. A city cannot have more than one,” is his opinion.

Now don’t mistake his words as a reflection of his arrogance. The Bagan technical director does agree and knows it well enough that his team will be up against one of the toughest opponents in the competition.

Barring the game against Army XI which they lost, because of their listless show especially during the first 45 minutes of play, Mohammedan Sporting have been a spirited lot, hardly showing any signs of pressure or nervousness to the presence of big names in the rival camp.

“All our matches are tough ones. We neither underestimate nor overestimate our opponents. But talking of Mohammedan Sporting, they are certainly a good side. They are a hard-pressing side… Their players are running very well at present.

“We just can’t afford to lose the ball in our territory. We need to be extremely careful about that,” the veteran coach said.

Katsumi Yusa and Ashim Biswas are the two players who could go on to make a difference in Sunday’s encounter. Katsumi’s sprints through the centre and the left flank do have the capacity to unsettle the rival defences, while Mohammedan Sporting’s goal-scoring prospects so far have relied a lot on how Ashim has performed.

If Katsumi shines, the job will only get easier for Pierre Boya, Balwant Singh and CS Sabeeth, who may come in place of Jeje Lalpekhlua (nursing a muscle pull). “I feel Katsumi is one of the most dangerous players in the Bagan camp. Our most important job will be to keep him at bay,” Mohammedan Sporting coach Fuja Tope said.