The Telegraph
Monday , January 6 , 2014
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Must-win match for Bagan

Calcutta: “Anything can happen in football.”

It sounded more than mere words of console for Karim Bencharifa on the eve of Mohun Bagan’s CFL championship-round tie against Mohammedan Sporting.

But that was hours before East Bengal had a smooth sailing over United SC. Following East Bengal’s win on Sunday, Bagan must beat Mohammedan Sporting to keep their hopes alive in the CFL and make sure the Derby next Saturday doesn’t turn into a dead rubber.

Now, irrespective of the end result of the CFL, winning their last two matches of the competition would certainly be a morale-booster for Bagan before the Federation Cup.

“Good results in our last two matches will surely build our confidence going into the Federation Cup. It would be a huge positive if we can win them,” Bencharifa stressed.

There could be an advantage for Mohun Bagan since Mohammedan Sporting will miss the services of Luciano Sabrosa and Joshimar, both of whom are out suspended.

Onus will be on Ashim Biswas and Penn Orji to do the scoring, while Mohammedan Sporting would also want the likes of Anthony Soren and Manish Maithani to continue from where they had left off in their previous game, against East Bengal.

“I’ve seen almost all matches of Mohammedan Sporting this season. I do have a clear idea of the strengths of each of their players.

There’s no dearth of options in their reserve bench even if they miss two or three of their regulars,” Bencharifa pointed out.

The good news for Bagan is that Odafe Okolie is fit and back to scoring. And he needs to continue with the job if Bagan are to have happier times ahead.

Like his counterpart, Mohammedan Sporting coach Sanjoy Sen, too, wants his team to win on Monday so that they finish the competition on a good note.